Posts Tagged ‘admin-1’

Natural Earth version 1.3 released

Monday, January 31st, 2011

When Natural Earth relaunched in December 2009 with updated raster and new vector data our aim was two fold: First, to give cartographers an off-the-shelf solution for creating small-scale world, regional and country maps from scratch. Second, we included a wealth of features both large and small in hopes of improving the overall geographic literacy of map readers. Since then, we’ve taken Natural Earth on an around-the-world road show and January 2011 saw our 150,000th direct download and 500,000th pageview. We even made it into Wikipedia, were featured in PrettyMaps, and power some of the goodness behind Google Fusion Tables. With today’s 1.3 release, we add a couple newly independent countries, better delineate the world’s states and provinces, and make a whole host of corrections and additions to the original dataset, detailed below. Please continue to use these fine map ingredients to make great web and print geo mashups. Bon appetit.

Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso and Tom Patterson

Continue reading and download the updated files at NaturalEarthData.com »

    German dialects and migration: How linguistic variations affect where Germans choose to live (Economist)

    Friday, August 13th, 2010

    201012eum978[Editor's note: Sprechen Sie Deutsch? I keep returning to this article from the Economist from earlier this year in March. You might also enjoy: What's the point of counties? (UK) and The English apple season starts – though they're hard to find.]

    Republished from the Economist.

    FEW Germans now say Appel rather thanApfel (apple) or maken instead of machen(to make). The north German dialects that use such variants are mostly dead or dying. But the cultural differences that they reflect still govern behaviour today, says a paper from the Institute for the Study of Labour, in Bonn*.

    Acting on imperial orders in the 1880s, a linguist called Georg Wenker asked pupils from 45,000 schools across the new Reich to translate standard German sentences into local dialect. The results were used to compile an atlas of linguistic diversity. The new paper shows that Wenker’s dialect regions still define the comfort zones in which Germans prefer to live. When people migrate within Germany, they tend to go to places where dialects resemble those spoken in their home region 120 years ago.

    German dialects, formed by geography and political and religious fragmentation, express deep-seated cultural differences. These persist even though borders between petty princedoms are invisible (and often no longer audible). Even small differences count. Swabians share Baden-Württemberg with Badeners. Both spoke Alemannic dialects. But Swabians, who say Haus (house), have a bias against living in the neighbouring old grand duchy, where they say Huus.

    That trade is livelier among regions that share a language is well known. The paper’s authors think they are the first to find a similar effect within a single language in one country. They measure migration not trade, because the data are better and cultural factors matter more. The best predictors are still Wenker’s maps. “Even when we don’t speak dialect, the cultural territory is still there,” says Alfred Lameli, one of the authors.

    Does this confuse cause and effect? Regions may have similar dialects because earlier generations migrated and their descendants follow suit. To rule this out, the authors looked at the way communist East Germany weakened social links that encourage migration. After unification, they found, the old migration patterns came back, suggesting that migrants respond to cultural factors more than to social ties. It seems that neither television, nor the autobahn, nor even the Kaiser, has created a single country in Germany.

    *“Dialects, Cultural Identity, and Economic Exchange” by Oliver Falck, Stephan Heblich, Alfred Lameli and Jens Südekum, IZA, February 2010

    Socotra, South Sudan, and the Netherlands Antilles (Economist)

    Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

    [Editor's note: Grab bag of Natural Earth admin-2 and admin-0 map units in last week's Economist magazine.]

    Republished from the Economist.

    Socotra: A still-enchanted island
    Will Yemen’s magical island manage to stay aloof?

    MAROONED in pirate-infested waters off the Horn of Africa but tied to unruly Yemen 400km (250 miles) away, the archipelago of Socotra has a forbidding look. Scorching summer winds strand ships. So fierce is the constant gale that it has whipped beachfuls of blinding white sand into dunes hundreds of metres high that ride up the cliffs. Even in winter it is blisteringly hot. Rats, the sole occupants of one rocky islet, are so ravenous that seasonal fishermen sleep in their skiffs, afraid to languish ashore.

    Yet Socotra, whose main island is the size of Majorca or Long Island, is one of the world’s last enchanted places. The 50,000 native Socotris, speaking four dialects of a singsong ancient language unintelligible to other Yemenis, subsist on fish, goats and not much else. But they inhabit a wildly varied landscape of surreal beauty. The sea teems with giant lobsters, turtles and leaping dolphins. A unique breed of civet cat roams the limestone plateaus that are seamed with gorges carved by rushing streams, and spiked by finger-like granite towers rising to 1,500 metres. The cats are just one among 700 native species of plants and animals found nowhere else on earth.

    Continue reading at the Economist . . .

    South Sudan’s biggest ethnic group: On your tractor, if you can
    The Dinka will decide whether Africa’s latest state-in-waiting fails or prospers

    THE Anglican Bishop of Bor, Nathaniel Garang, sits under the little shade afforded by a thorn tree. His dusty compound has a few mud and straw huts, some plastic chairs, and goats reaching up to bare branches on their hind legs. The bishop is around 70, he guesses, and in reflective mood. He wears a small brass cross given to him by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Entering Canterbury cathedral, he remarks, was a special moment in his life.

    Mr Garang is a Dinka, the largest of south Sudan’s tribes. Specifically, he is a Bor Dinka (see map), the first of the Dinka groups to become Christian and be educated. Their historic missionary post, founded just upriver on the Nile in 1905, was burnt down during Sudan’s long civil war between the Arab and Muslim north and the Christian and animist south that ended only five years ago. The cathedral in Bor was also shot up, but still attracts several thousand worshippers.

    Continue reading at the Economist . . .

    The Netherlands Antilles: The joy of six
    Curaçao savours the prospect of autonomy

    AS independence struggles go, the process of dismantling the federation of the Netherlands Antilles is about as orderly and peaceful as it gets. On 10-10-10 (October 10th 2010) Curaçao, St Maarten, Bonaire, Saba and St Eustatius will go their separate ways—but only up to a point. Curaçao and St Maarten will become self-governing territories, following the example of Aruba, a sixth Dutch-speaking island in the Caribbean which broke away in 1986. But all will remain under the Dutch crown. The tiniest three islands—Saba, Bonaire and St Eustatius—will become overseas municipalities, with a similar status to towns in the Netherlands.

    The attractions of autonomy are obvious in Curaçao (population: 142,000), the most populous island. It will take over government assets such as a large oil refinery and one of the Caribbean’s biggest dry docks, both in Willemstad, the capital, and the taxes from thriving tourist and offshore-banking industries. Generously, the Dutch will pay off 70% of the federation’s $3.3 billion debt. Local leaders have ambitious plans to develop new port facilities and hotels, and to modernise the dry dock.

    Continue reading at the Economist . . .

    French vehicle number plates: Choose your département (Economist)

    Monday, May 10th, 2010

    201017eud001[Editor's note: Coming from California where we do not list admin-2 counties on our license plates, it was always odd (from a privacy perspective) yet delightful (from a geo-nerd perspective) to see plates from Georgia and elsewhere that tagged them thus. France tried to scrap and now revamp their plate system, leaving it with a curiosity akin to the OBX & etc place bumper stickers one sees on the US east coast.]

    Republished from the Economist.

    What new licence plates reveal about car-owners and where they live

    WHEN the French government decided to bring in new number plates, it all seemed simple. Under the old system, car-owners had to change their plates every time they moved from one département to another. Under the new rules, which came into effect last year, a licence plate belongs to the car even if the owner changes address. As a logical consequence, new plates would no longer display département numbers.

    Yet this was to underestimate the fierce attachment of the French to theirdépartements, first created after the 1789 revolution. Under the first version of the new plan, the département number was to have been an optional add-on. One argument, never quite made explicit, was that this would enable drivers to avoid stigmatisation. Those from certain roughbanlieues, such as Seine-Saint-Denis, north of Paris (93), have always been treated with extra suspicion by the police. They could now choose to be less identifiable on the road.

    The French were dismayed. One poll found that 71% disapproved of the numbers becoming optional. Some feared that it might be the beginning of the end of the administrative département. Families argued that it would ruin car games for children. Over 220 parliamentary deputies and senators joined a campaign, “never without mydépartement”, demanding the numbers’ reinstatement. “It’s a matter of roots, of attachment to a land,” said Richard Mallié, a deputy from Bouches-du-Rhône (13), who led the campaign.

    Eventually the government backed down and agreed to make département numbers compulsory again—but in tiny, almost illegible characters. The result is an overloaded ugly mess. Worse, the département number is now pure whimsy: car-owners can choose anywhere they want, not just where they live. And they can change without modifying their official registration.

    A year after the new licence plates were introduced, who wants to parade their roots, and who to disguise them? The most popular choices seem to be the 69 of Rhône, around Lyon, and the 59 of the Nord, centred on Lille, a département mythologised in “Bienvenue chez les Ch’tis”, a warm-hearted 2008 box-office hit. And the least sought-after? Not the 93 of Seine-Saint-Denis, but the 75 of Paris and the 92 of Hauts-de-Seine, which includes the swanky suburb of Neuilly. Parisians, the car dealers say, turn out to be the ones who are keenest to hide their origins—perhaps to protect their cars from casual vandalism when motoring on holiday, prompted by their reputation for haughty arrogance.

    Name Change in Pakistan, North-West Frontier Prov. No More (Wash Post)

    Friday, April 9th, 2010

    [Editor's note: The NWFP colonial-era name in Pakistan has been discarded with this week's constitutional reforms in favor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The new name reflects the dominant ethnic group and strategic Khyber pass. Changing Up Pakistan has a good backgrounder. Time to update Natural Earth's 1st order admin!]

    Republished from The Washington Post.
    By Griff Witte Thursday, April 8, 2010; 1:26 PM

    ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s National Assembly on Thursday passed sweeping constitutional reforms that sharply curtail the president’s power and have at least the potential to stabilize the nation’s habitually turbulent political system.

    The changes wipe away a host of measures introduced by military dictators in recent decades that had eroded the power of parliament and centralized authority in the hands of the president. Under the reforms, Pakistan’s prime minister and its provincial governments are expected to have greater latitude in running the country, which has become a central battleground for the United States in the fight against religious extremist groups. [...]

    One of the most contentious elements of the reform package will give a new name to the North-West Frontier Province, which has been at the center of militancy in Pakistan in recent years. The old name — a relic of colonial times — was despised by many Pashtuns, who thought it did not reflect their status as the province’s dominant ethnic group. The new name, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, is intended to solve that problem, but it has sparked demonstrations in recent days by the area’s ethnic minorities, who say it makes them feel unwelcome in their home province.

    Read the full article at The Washington Post . . .

    Natural Earth 1.1 update + 1.2 preview

    Friday, March 26th, 2010

    The 60+ individual themes that received edits in the 1.1 update of Natural Earth are now available for ala cart downloading on the NaturalEarthData.com site. The 110m country boundary lines theme is now available in 1.1 (somehow it was left out of the original release). The combo 110m-cultural download has been updated to include that missing file. In case you’re wondering, there is no 50m country boundary lines update, even though the 50m admin-0 polygons were updated as their boundaries did not change, only the attribute tables were updated to version 1.1.

    Jill finished editing ~1,900 or half of the 10m admin-1 polygon data attributes for name and thematic codes for the larger, more populous countries. We’ll start merging that with the new, topologically valid linework in April.

    Tom got a cache of old hand drawn relief and is busy nudging it in Photoshop to align to Natural Earth drains.

    Preston finished adding tapers to the North America drains. Those will go live on the site in early April and will quadruple (4x) the amount of hydrological data there. We’re about 50% done with Europe.

    If you have a few hours to help out, please drop me a line at nathaniel@kelsocartography.com.

    Updating Natural Earth Populated Places (Kelso)

    Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

    Dick Furno and I have been busy revising and expanding the populated places included with Natural Earth, released in December. We’re adding around 1,000 places to get to ~7,300 total towns and settlements around the world. We include more admin-1 capitals and make a first stab at linking to GeoNames via their unique IDs. Dick has gone over the towns and created a new 30m scale rank that helps cut the 20m clutter in half. We hope to have the update pushed out by the end of January.

    Here’s a preview: Click images to see larger version

    Added locations
    (red = added general place, black = added admin-1 place at less than 10m scale rank, grey = existing places)

    added_place_or_admin_1_capital

    Scale rank changed
    (red = change, grey = no change to existing or added at less than 10m scale rank)

    scale_ranks

    Changed the name, location, feature class, population, or other property
    (blue = changes to existing features, grey = existing or added)

    names_location_featureclass_population

    Places with GeoName ID linkages
    (green = with ID, grey = lacks ID for mostly small population settlements)

    geonames_id

    Natural Earth Vector Preview: Cities (Part 2)

    Thursday, November 12th, 2009

    Announced at NACIS in Sacramento, California in October, we’re closing in on final release of Natural Earth vector and raster map data.

    Bill Buckingham wrapped up processing the Natural Earth Vector cities (populated places point locations) this week. I’ve been honing our admin-1 and admin-1 rankings and feature names (only 4,000 states and provinces around the world, wew!).

    Bill’s added population estimates for each city based on LandScan. The technique allows the user to know both the relative “regional” importance of a town, regardless of it’s population, based on which map scales the feature should be visible (thanks to Dick Furno) at AND to know how many people live there.

    By taking a composite of both, you can still show small population cities that are regionally important at a small type point size along with larger populated places at the smaller map scales.

    We have about 6,500 cities in Natural Earth Vector. Over 90% of those have population estimates (the ones that don’t are usually out in the boondocks). Together, our cities capture over 3 billion people or half of humanity.

    For comparison, most other populated place GIS files have only 2,000 some cities and they focus on country and first order administrative capitals with a bare smattering of other towns. For instance: Lagos, Nigeria or San Francisco, California.  This makes smaller countries with lots of administrative divisions (like Slovenia, Vietnam, or Jamaica) seems way more populated than larger countries with larger administrative divisions (like the United States). See the North America screenshot below for an example and look at the Caribbean versus United States.

    They also don’t estimate populations, and if they do they use official census number that hide the true “metro”-style counting of people that should inform a thematic map regardless of formal administrative boundaries at the smaller map scales that Natural Earth excels at.

    Now for some screenshots:

    (Scale ranks, followed by population view color coded like the scale ranks with nodata green dots, then cyan dot version is ESRI cities overlayed)

    0world_ranks

    0world_population

    1no_amer_ranks

    1no_amer_population

    1no_amer_esri

    2us_ranks

    2us_population

    2us_esri

    More continents o’ dots after the jump.

    (more…)