Archive for the ‘Site update’ Category

500,000 views in 2.5 years

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

My Google Analytics odometer ticked over last week and this humble blog has crossed the 1/2 million threshold after 2.5 years. Visitors have come from 211 ISO countries (I still don’t have any readers in Somalia or North Korea, la sigh).  Can’t get enough geo, map, or design news? Check out my twitter channel @kelsosCorner. Want to share a link or your project? Email me: nathaniel@kelsocartography.com.

Meet Alberto Cuadra, new artist at The Washington Post

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

screen-shot-2010-04-05-at-110419-pm

[Editor's note: I'll update on Where 2.0 soon, but first I have a new colleague at The Washington Post. Alberto Cuadra is an impressive 3d artist coming to us from the Houston Chronicle. More from the announcement below and check out his portfolio. I have also turned off the daily Twitter blog cross-posts, you can follow me at @kelsosCorner for more frequent updates and previews.]

Alberto will be taking on a new kind of role for Washington Post graphics. He will be tasked with reporting and telling visual stories about physical D.C. That means anything from a tour of the Capitol Visitors Center to a rendering of what the new White Flint is going to look like. He will work closely with the Local visual content team.

Alberto is uniquely qualified for this new role. He started his career as a reporter at Spain’s El Mundo and switched to graphics after the art department admired the sketches he delivered with graphics requests. He has since become one of the best 3D modelers in print journalism.

Check out Alberto’s portfolio . . .

Added Twitter feed, Natural Earth promo to blog

Monday, March 15th, 2010

My live twitter feed has been added in the top right column. I’ll experiment with publishing a daily digest as a regular blog post, will revise based on feedback.

I’ve also added a Natural Earth download promo in the site header. Natural Earth is a public domain map dataset available at 1:10m, 1:50m, and 1:110m scales. Featuring tightly integrated vector and raster data, with Natural Earth you can make a variety of visually pleasing, well-crafted maps with cartography or GIS software. I hope this gives the dataset more exposure, especially with sideways traffic. Please share the site with your social networks :)

Natural Earth version 1.1 download + release notes. Free, great world GIS map data:

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

[Editor's note: I'm pleased to announce the immediate availability of version 1.1 of Natural Earth! Three months after our initial launch, the project reaches a major milestone. The download manager will be updated the next couple weeks. In the meantime, please check out the ZIP and release notes below.]

Continue reading and download the data at NaturalEarthData.com . . .

GISintersect.com GIS Blog added to blog roll

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Geographic Information Systems – News and Tips by Andreas Forø Tollefsen in Norway. Recent posts include links to global roads and wild places datasets. Read more »

Using Live Paint to Build Polygons Out of Line Segments in Adobe Illustrator (Kelso)

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

I remember spending hours in my introduction to computer cartography lab class at Humboldt State University “building polygons” in the Adobe Illustrator design software package. We started with state “lines” and, one by one, duplicated and joined them into polygons by painstakingly selecting matching endpoints and cursing the Illustrator error dialogs that kept coming up. Fast forward 5 software versions and 10 years and we can now accomplish the same workflow in seconds using the new “Live Paint” feature available in version CS2 and newer. Maybe this is old news, but it’s sure makes things easier on the Natural Earth Vector project!

Download native Illustrator CS3 file and follow along with sample linework.

Step 1: Start with lines for 1st order, country, and hydro coast, rivers on separate layers (like you’d normally layer your map file).

live_paint_step1

Step 2: Duplicate all related lines onto one “building” layer (the next step would group originals if you don’t do here).

live_paint_step2

Step 3: Select all those duplicated “building” lines (interior state boundaries, exterior country boundary, and exterior shorelines for that country, the more linework, the slower it goes), choose the live paint tool livepainticon and click on the selection. It will turn into a “live paint group”. If  you are viewing the bounding box, it will appear slightly differently than normal handles (see below).

live_paint_step3

Step 4: Make sure the toolbox fill is a color like yellow (the default is set to no fill, so you won’t get the tool to work unless you change it). Click and drag the live paint tool over all implied polygons between lines. Watch them turn into filled polys!!!! If you don’t get an implied polygon to fill, try adjusting the gap tolerance at Object > Live Paint > Gap Options. The default settings worked fine for me, though. Not shown here are the reddish thick highlight around target polygons as the Live Paint tool is dragged acros the artwork.

live_paint_step4

Step 5: Once you’re done and all your implied polygons are colored in like a coloring book, expand the live paint group (Object > Live Paint > Expand, or use the Expand button on the control panel button strip). Ungroup twice (Object > Ungroup). The polys, lines, and hydro will all be on the building layer. Use select by similar to select just the filled polys you just made and move them to the First_order_admin_polys layer. Delete the left over country and hydro lines (you have originals elsewhere).

live_paint_step5

Step 6: Color code new state polygons and compound path related admin units (none in this instance). That’s it!

live_paint_step6

Problems? Try this tutorial video from Layers magazine and, separately, from Mordy Golding.

Placename conventions: Wales (Cymru) @ 2009 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C.

Monday, June 29th, 2009

img_1008_2 img_1011_2 img_1012_2

[Editor's note: Visiting the Wales section of this year's Smithsonian Folklife Festival (continues thru July 5),  I am reminded of how each language has a different name for the same set of geographic features. This is mostly true on the world scale for countries, oceans, continents and so on. Sometimes it continues down to major cities within a certain country, especially with names like "New York". Each language has a "conventional" name for foreign placenames that may or may not bear an obvious resemblance to the name used by the local language used by those in that place. Some cities even have historic (no longer used) conventional names: Istanbul (not Constantanopal). Mumbai took a good 15 years to replace the US-English conventional for Bombay in India.

The technical terms for this, definitions courtesy Wikipedia, are Exonym (a name for a place that is not used within that place by the local inhabitants), endonym, autonym (the name used by the people or locals themselves). Exonyms may derive from distinct roots as in the case of Deutschland, Germany. They can also be cognates which sound similar (and are spelled similar, using the local script), and final they may be fully or partially translated from the native language (like New York and Neuvo York). Transliteration is the practice of converting a text from one writing system into another in a systematic way. Some places, like New Zealand, have multiple local language names for the same geographic features, further clouding the issue.

The US-English conventional romanized script for the country in Europe that borders France and Poland is "Germany" yet in Welsh it is "yr Almaen", which is similar to the usage in French and several other European languages. These types of naming styles are important when attributing a world base map (see Natural Earth Vector blog post). For an audience that is mono-lingual, it makes sense to use conventional names for foreign place names. But what happens for a product that enjoys multi-lingual users? On one hand we want to be "localized" to the appropriate name in each language, but we need to provide enough "conventional" placenames for the user to orient themselves, especially when the foreign names use a completely different writing script (not roman ABCs). Google Maps-US takes an hyprid approach where names in each country are labeled in the local script using the local name, with a few labels also in conventional US-English. When one searches for Tokyo, the map shows Japan in mostly Kanji script with some romanized, conventional US-English versions of those names.

For Natural Earth Vector, we follow a hybrid approach that will allow for localization into other languages besides the compilation language, US-English. Tom Patterson used the following guidelines for his original Physical Map fo the World project, which this project uses as it's primary source:

• Endonyms (Appennino) were favored over exonyms (Apennines) for place names based on Romance and Germanic languages, which are often cognates of familiar English names and easy to identify.
• For other languages, transliterated names of major features (mountain ranges, plateaus, deserts, etc.) received English place name descriptors. For example, Verkhoyansk Khrebet in Russia is labeled on the map as Verkhoyansk Range. Smaller physical features, such as mountains within ranges, have entirely local names.
• Transnational features named in more than one language, for example, the Donau/Duna/Danube River, received conventional English names.
• When two or more countries claim ownership of the same physical feature and use different names for it, the preference was for the country currently in possession of the feature regardless of the circumstances. For example, the southern Kuril Islands that Japan and Russia both claim, and which Russia has occupied since 1945, have Russian names.
• A few notable places have English translations in parentheses, for example, Rub al Khali (Empty Quarter).
• All river names dispense with the word "River" or the abbreviation "R."
• Island names within compact island groups drop the word "Island" or the abbreviation "I."
• Non-English place names have accents and diacritical marks. However, the font used on the map (Adobe Frutiger) lacked a few exotic accents for consonants, which consequently do not appear on the map.

And now for the Welsh Smithsonian Festival information:]

wales_folklife

Republished from the Smithsonian.

Wales (Cymru in Welsh) is a dynamic and resilient nation. The industrious and resourceful nature of its people provides a firm platform from which to present its rich culture and heritage. Wales Smithsonian Cymru will celebrate language, literature, and the spoken word, present crafts and occupational skills, share music and cooking, and evoke the spirit that powered the industrial revolution and is now championing sustainable solutions. The program will explore how age-old knowledge, skills, and materials continue to be refashioned, recycled, and reinvented to meet modern demands and to continue to connect Wales to the world.

With much of its border being coastline, Wales’ maritime influences remain vital to the nation’s evolution. The mountain ranges and National Parks sustain the rural communities and outdoor life that are Wales’ touchstones. The essence and inspiration of the landscape will be shared by those who live off and nurture Wales’ beguiling natural environment. Cooking demonstrations will explore the qualities of fresh, local ingredients sourced from farmers markets and savored across the country, from seafood platters to hearty Welsh lamb dishes. Performances and workshops will illustrate the diversity of the Welsh music scene, from the ancient sounds of the crwth and pibgorn, to evocative vocal and harp renditions, and to lively folk bands playing a range of familiar and experimental repertoires. Craftspeople and building arts experts will share their experiences and skills working with native Welsh woods, slate, wool, metal, and stone.

Immigration and an international perspective have enriched Welsh culture for generations, while the strength of the Welsh language, which stems from the sixth century, continues to underpin the nation’s identity. Visitors will be able to practice Welsh phrases and learn about the history of the language. In addition to the Festival, Wales’ presence will be extended through ancillary programs that will begin in March 2009, presented in collaboration with partner organizations in Washington, D.C. These activities and events will include a wide range of contemporary arts and a focus on sustainable living and climate change.

Continue reading at the Smithsonian . . .

Adding Ads to Kelso’s Corner

Friday, May 15th, 2009

Today, I introduce an image ad at the top of my blog. Am I going to make millions from this ad? Probably not. Will I find it annoying, yes. Will the new ad drive you away? Hopefully not. I’ve had text ads in my sidebar for 2 months now and I’ve made a whopping $10.91. At that rate I’ll get my first Google AdWords check in 2010 as they don’t even pay till you reach a minimum amount. Like the existing text ad, I’m curious to explore the intersection of journalism, niche publishing (blogging), and advertising. This blog consistently gets 1,000 page views a day. My goal with the ads remains to simply break even on hosting and promotion costs. As it stands, $10.91 doesn’t even buy a movie ticket in Washington, DC.

Script: Place Multiple Files in Illustrator (Kelso)

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

[Editor's note: This new script allows multiple files to be placed into Adobe Illustrator at once. Illustrator's native place command can only handle 1 single file at once. This script was commissioned by Eric at Nutshell Communications, Inc.]

This script will allow you to (import) place multiple files as separate named layers from a designated folder to a new Illustrator document. The files are all placed at once, you don’t get to control individual placement (but of course you can modify location after the script runs). Script should work with CS2, CS3, and CS4, both Mac and Windows.

To install new scripts you need to:

  • Download either the IMAGES version (eg, JPG, GIF, TIF, etc) or the EPS version.
  • Quit Illustrator
  • Copy the script file into the Illustrator application folder’s “Presets” » “Scripts” subfolder. If you are in CS4 this will be the application folder’s “Presets” » “en_US” » “Scripts” subfolder (transpose “en_US” with your local language string).
  • After restarting Illustrator, you can find the scripts in the menu “File” » “Scripts”;
  • TIP: You can create subfolders in the scripts folder to organize your scripts

Usage

  • The script asks for a folder to be selected by the user in a normal file open dialog.
  • All loose files are examined and if they match EPS file type then they are placed (nested folders not examined).
  • It is easy to limit this to EPS or add other file types (see below)
  • The files are placed into the middle of the document (or registered to a 9-point page location).
  • Each placed file gets its own layer, the layer name matches the placed file’s name.
  • The file is not auto-saved. You do that manually.

Placement Options

Line 7 controls the placement of the imagesinto the document. These are 9-point registration of ul, ml, ll, um, mm, lm, ur, mr, lr.
var placement9pointAlignment = “mm”;

Adding More File Types

Line 33 controls which file extensions are supported:
if( (fName.indexOf(“.eps”) == -1) ) {

You can easily expand the file types supported as shown in the commented out line in 34:
//if( (fName.indexOf(“.eps”) == -1) && (fName.indexOf(“.gif”) == -1) && (fName.indexOf(“.jpg”) == -1) && (fName.indexOf(“.png”) == -1) && (fName.indexOf(“.bmp”) == -1) && (fName.indexOf(“.tif”) == -1) && (fName.indexOf(“.psd”) == -1)) {

To allow more file types, use the formatting and grammar as in line 34.

Wow, How Fast Time Flies (Kelso)

Monday, October 20th, 2008

It’s been a year since I launched my site to promote some of the scripting (programming) work I was doing and to list useful plugins for Adobe Illustrator other cartographers and graphic designers. I launched my blog soon after to note websites, graphics, and concepts that attracted my attention. It’s proven a useful notepad to organize these for my reference and to share with others.

Some stats to geek out with:

All-time most popular blog posts:
Meet Toni Mair — Terrain Artist Extraordinaire

Dorling Cartograms – Carbon Atlas – SND Awards

Recent top blog posts:
Anything iPhone and GPS
GPS Kit – New software app for iPhone 3G (Kelso)

iPhone GPS with iTrail and RunKeeper (Kelso)

Mapping and GPS on the iPhone, Part 2

Mapping and GPS on the iPhone

Total blog pageviews: 60,000 since Nov. 29th, 2007.

Total site pageviews (including blog): 87,000 since Oct. 8th, 2007.

Site visitors are from all around the world including 154 countries and all 50 states (please excuse the terrible Google maps. Darker colors = more visitors. “City” views not comprehensive.):

Most visitors use Firefox or Safari (only 25% use Internet Explorer). Windows users account for 70% with most the rest on the Mac, though a couple Wii, Playstation, and iPhone users. Almost everyone has at least a 17″ monitor with over 75% having a larger monitor size up to 1920 x 1200. Most everyone has some version of Flash Player 9 installed. Only 2% are on dialup (though 28% do not list their connection speed). All these stats are from Google Analytics, a very awesome free tool that Google uses to pump their ad sales.