Posts Tagged ‘canada’

Adding new rivers and lakes to 10m Natural Earth in North America

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

Tom and I have been busy adding 4 times the rivers and 3 times the lakes we had for North America. This adds in many “missing” hydro features that one might normally find on a 1:10,000,000 hydrologic reference map.

Why were they missing from the first version of Natural Earth? It’s hard to wade thru 1:1,000,000 features to figure which to add and an even tougher job to attribute them with the correct name and scale ranks. There’s another factor: these extra features are great if you’re making a watershed map, but can be a little noisy when used as a background layer in say a political reference map.

Cody Rice, now of the EPA but formerly of the Commission for Environmental Cooperation (CEC) send along an amazing link last week. The CEC is a joint agency between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Specifically: USGS, Natural Resources Canada, INEGI-Mexico. Each country contributed base data for a 1:10,000,000 digital atlas. The data is available in many popular formats and is in the public domain. Better yet, it includes GIS data attributes like river name!

We’ve compared with our existing Natural Earth linework and identified which features were missing. For those we’re adding, we’ve adjusted the new linework a nudge here and there so it lines up with SRTM relief and our existing linework. We’ve also gone thru and created lake centerlines and applied scale ranks to all in three new steps (10, 11, and 12). We have some final polishing but will be releasing, along with some slight adjustments to the original data, by the end of January.

Do you have time to donate? Unlike ranks 0 to 9 (the original data), this new data will NOT come tapered. We’d like it to be and can show you how.

Know of a similar, attributed with name, 1:10,000,000 regional dataset we could adapt into Natural Earth to build out our coverage? Please let me know at nathaniel@kelsocartography.com.

Preview images below:

Red = new at rank 10. Blue = new at rank 11. Black = new at rank 12. Grey = old at ranks 0 to 9.

Click images to view larger sizes.

hydro_west_coast

hydro_mid_west

hydro_east

hydro_mexico

hydro_alaska

hydro_yukon

hydro_quebec

Ancient map with China at center goes on show in Washington, DC (BBC)

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

[Editor’s note: “A rare, 400-year-old map that displays China at the center of the world will be on exhibit at the Library of Congress from Jan. 12 to April 10 2010, before it is digitized and then heads to its intended home at the James Ford Bell Library at the University of Minnesota. If you haven’t checked our Ricci in China, it’s a fascinating time period in the history of cartography. Thanks Curt and Mary Kate!]

Republished from the BBC.

Visitor instructions from the Library of Congress . . .

A visitor studies Matteo Ricci's 400-year-old world map at the Library of CongressThe huge map is being displayed at the Library of Congress in Washington

A historic map of the world, with China at its centre, has gone on display at the Library of Congress in Washington.

The map was created by Italian missionary Matteo Ricci in 1602. It is one of only two copies in existence in good condition.

Because of its rarity and fragility – the map is printed on rice paper – the map has become known as the “Impossible Black Tulip of Cartography”.

This is the first time it has been on public show in north America.

Ricci created the map at the request of Emperor Wanli who wanted it to help scholars and explorers.

‘Revered by Chinese’

The map was purchased by the James Ford Bell Trust in October for $1m (£0.62m), making it the second-most expensive rare map ever sold.

It denotes different parts of the world with annotations and pictures.

A detail from the China section of Matteo Ricci's world map

The map had China at the centre of the world to underline its importance

In the Americas, for example, several places are named including Chih-Li (Chile), Wa-ti-ma-la (Guatemala) and Ka-na-ta (Canada), and Florida is described as “the Land of the Flowers”.

Ford W Bell, a trustee for the James Ford Bell Trust, told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review newspaper, that the map was “one of the two best in terms of quality, as far as we know”.

“Ricci was a very smart missionary. He put China right at the centre of this new universe, this new globe, to underscore its importance,” he said.

“Ricci, of course, was the first Westerner to enter Beijing. He was revered by the Chinese, and he was buried there.”

The first secretary for cultural affairs at the Chinese embassy in the US, Ti Ban Zhang, said in a statement that the map represents “the momentous first meeting of East and West”.

What is the difference between a sea and a lake? (Environment Canada)

Friday, December 11th, 2009

[Editor’s note: This Q&A from Environment Canada explains the rough difference between types of hydrological features. Names in the real world are often messier than this text book explanation. One way we’ve tried to help in Natural Earth is by indicating if a lake is freshwater, saline, natural, artificial, stable water level, seasonal water level, or simply ephemeral.]

Republished from Environment Canada. Feb. 2002.

What is the difference between a sea and a lake? Looking at the names of many sea and many lakes does not readily demonstrate an identifiable difference. There are salt water lakes and fresh water seas and some lakes that are bigger than other seas.
Bruce Schoenegge, Irvine, California, USA

Salt crust resulting from receding lake, Lake Frome, Australia.
Salt crust resulting from receding lake, Lake Frome, Australia.

In order to understand why some smaller salt water bodies are called lakes and others seas it is necessary to realize that lakes are, in geological time scales, transitory in nature–they form, mature and die.

Some water bodies that started out as saltwater seas over time became closed-off from the oceans. Depending on the quantity of fresh water flowing in from rivers, glacial melt water, or other sources, the salinity could have declined to the point where the water became relatively fresh. The Sea of Aral is probably an example of where this transition has occurred. Similarly the reverse can occur whereby freshwater lakes can become open to the sea so that the salinity increases, as in the Baltic Sea. The Black Sea is an example that has alternated between fresh and salt water conditions over geological time. Evidence for these changes can be found in ancient fossils of organisms some of which were known to be tolerant of saltwater while others were known to have been intolerant.

No doubt there was also some confusion in the naming of water bodies by the early explorers based on their first impressions and certainly one can understand why some may have been inappropriately named. In addition the subsequent translation of the names between different languages could also have added to the confusion.

Here are some definitions of water bodies:

Ocean
The whole body of salt water that covers nearly 3/4 of the surface area of the globe. In particular, each of the main areas into which the sea is divided geographically, e.g. Atlantic, Pacific. Oceans are tidal, living systems containing a multitude of biological organisms.

  • Average depth of the world’s oceans: 3,962 metres(13,000ft)
  • Maximum depth: 10,680 meters; (35,040ft)
  • Average salt content – 3.5% (mostly common salt, NaCl but with some magnesium and calcium salts)
  • Average density – 1.026
Sea
The expanse of salt water that covers most of the earth’s surface and surrounds the land masses. A body of salt water that is secondary in size to oceans.
Lake
A large area of water surrounded by land. Normally fresh water but in some cases can be appreciably saline depending on the geology of the underlying and surrounding terrain. Lakes are living systems containing various quantities of biological organisms. Lakes can be classified according to the level of bioproductivity as oligotrophic (low productivity), mesotrophic or eutrophic (high productivity). The productivity is usually controlled by the amount of nutrients (mostly phosphorus and nitrogen) present in the water and the amount of light that can penetrate the water column.
River
A large natural stream of water flowing in a channel to the sea, a lake or another such river. The flow can be permanent of seasonal.
Stream
A small, narrow river flowing on the surface of, or beneath, the ground.

Mental Map: View from Washington by Matt Wuerker (Politico)

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

politico_wuerker_view_fr_dc

[Editor’s note: This cover illustration from Matt Wuerker for Politico is a take on Steinberg’s classic illustrations for the New Yorker that show the mental map for politicians living in the U.S. capital, Washington, D.C. The lead article looks at the top 50 politicos to watch. Thanks Laris!]

Republished from Politico.

Given the name of this publication, we sometimes get asked a good question: What exactly is a politico? There are a lot of definitions that fit, but here’s one that seems to work well: A politico is a participant in and/or an especially avid devotee of the theater of politics.

There is no grander stage than the capital for this particular drama. And what is the main thing you do at the theater? You watch it, of course. And then you laugh or cry or yawn or boo. At the end, you applaud — whether out of admiration for the performance or gratitude that it is over.

This issue (the third special glossy that POLITICO has published this year) is devoted to 50 Politicos to Watch. In some cases, the people are on the watch list because they are on the rise — the kind of list people in Washington relish being on. But be careful what you wish for. Some politicos are interesting to watch because they are in the middle of one sticky mess or another.

But in every case, the names we compiled here — and, let’s be honest, the list is somewhat random — were identified by our reporters and editors as being characters in motion, in the middle of interesting plots.

Continue reading at Politico . . .

Canada: Stop, border ahead + Obama must pass the telephone test (Economist)

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

[Editor's note: The Economist continues their strong use of geographic-oriented photo editing (Canada) and illustration (Obama's night table light as a glowing globe).]

Republished from The Economist.

Canada’s relations with the United States: Stop, border ahead

May 28th 2009 | OTTAWA. From The Economist print edition

New border controls and protectionist bills have dashed Canadians’ hopes that the change of occupant in the White House would mean warmer relations

Photo by Christinne Muschi

WHENEVER Canadians grow anxious about heightened security at the United States border—as they are now because of America’s new requirement, from June 1st, for passports or other approved identification to be shown at entry points—their news media invariably invoke the twin towns of Stanstead, Quebec, and Derby Line, Vermont. In these towns, the line that looks so neat on maps is a messy business, running through a factory, a combined library and opera house, and a number of homes. In some cases it lies between the bedroom and a morning cup of tea.

Continue reading at The Economist . . .

Lexington: Tough enough?

May 28th 2009. From The Economist print edition

Barack Obama must pass the telephone test

Illustration by KAL

FIFTEEN months ago, at the height of the battle for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton unleashed her most powerful weapon, a telephone call. “It’s 3am and your children are safe and asleep,” a voice intoned. “But there’s a phone in the White House and it’s ringing. Something is happening in the world.” Barack Obama might be able to give a pretty speech. But was he “tested and ready to lead in a dangerous world”?

The telephone has been ringing off the hook of late, as hostile governments tweak the new administration, to see what it is made of, and Republican politicians raise doubts about Mr Obama’s national-defence credentials. On Memorial Day North Korea tested a nuclear bomb, following up with a few ballistic missiles for good measure. (The North Koreans were kind enough to give the administration a heads-up, in case the Mr Magoos of the intelligence establishment missed the fireworks.) On May 21st Dick Cheney delivered a televised speech accusing the administration of unravelling “some of the very policies that have kept our people safe since 9/11”. The day before that, the Iranians tested long-range missiles.

Continue reading at The Economist . . .

Poll: What is your favorite Illustrator CS4 new feature?

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

[Editor’s note: This poll from JC is linked below. Jean-Claude Tremblay is a consultant and trainer in Canada with over 20 years of graphic and prepress expertise helping people learn to create and work efficiently. View JC’s profile on LinkedIn.]

Using AICS4? What is your favorite major Adobe Illustrator CS4 new features/enhancements?
By @jctremblay poll created on Feb 21, 2009 (see more from this user)

GO VOTE! @ TWTpoll.com

Poll options include:

  • Multiple Artboard
  • Gradient Panel enhancements & Widget
  • Blob Brush
  • Smart Guides enhancements
  • Appearance & Style Panel enhancements
  • Clipping Mask enhancements
  • Separation Preview Panel
  • Type on Path enhanced engine
  • Tabbed Document & New User Interface
  • Isolation Mode enhancements
  • Something not in this list…
  • None of the above. Bring back CS3!