Posts Tagged ‘china’

Terra Cotta Warriors: Guardians of China’s First Emperor (Wash Post)

Monday, November 23rd, 2009

terracotta

[Editor's note: The famous Xian warriors are stationed at National Geographic's Explorer's Hall in Washington, DC, thru March 31, 2010, open daily with late Wednesdays. Entrance fee applies, museum has details.]

Republished from The Washington Post.

An army for the afterlife
By Michael O’Sullivan. Friday, November 20, 2009

Buried for more than 2,000 years until their accidental discovery by Chinese farmers in 1974, the world-famous terra cotta warriors — a life-size militia of about 7,000 clay figures created to protect China’s first emperor in the afterlife — have arrived in Washington. Well, 15 of the 1,000 or so that have been unearthed, along with more than 100 related artifacts from the grave site of Qin Shihuangdi (259-210 B.C.) in Shaanxi province.

On view through March 31 at the National Geographic Museum, the last stop on a four-city U.S. tour, “Terra Cotta Warriors: Guardians of China’s First Emperor” is the first time this many of the figures have traveled to the States. What’s more, according to museum director Susan Norton, museum-goers here will be able to get within a few feet of the warriors, far closer than even at the original archeological site, where visitors look down on the burial pits from a distance.

Continue reading at The Washington Post . . .

Limitations on Passport Use (Wikipedia)

Monday, September 14th, 2009

[Editor's note: I dug up this interesting list of sovereign states who have passport problems at Wikipedia while working on Natural Earth.]

Most countries accept passports of other countries as valid for international travel and valid for entry. There are exceptions, such as when a country does not recognise the passport-issuing country as a sovereign state. Likewise, the passport-issuing country may also stamp restrictions on the passports of its citizens not to go to certain countries due to poor or non-existent foreign relations, or security or health risks.

Continue reading at Wikipedia . . .

Geography Illustrations in the Economist (Kelso)

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

[Editor's note: This week's Economist print edition features several geography themed illustrations, including KAL's take on the H1N1 swine flu situation.]

Republished from The Economist.
April 30, 2009

Cover Artwor: The Pandemic Threat
Illustration by KAL

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The Berlusconisation of Italy
Illustration by Peter Schrank

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Australia’s Chinese entanglement
Illustration by M. Morgenstern

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A healthy development: Taiwan and the WHO
Illustration by Claudio Munoz

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Mental Map: How China Sees the World (Economist)

Monday, March 30th, 2009

[Editor's note: "Illustration by Jon Berkeley with apologies to Steinberg and The New Yorker". Map illustration shows China's world view / mental map with Tiananmen Square central, the US in the distance, and Europe but a spec on the horizon. This mental map is a good example of a network topology based projection.]

Republished from the March 21st, 2009 print edition of The Economist.

And how the world should see China

IT IS an ill wind that blows no one any good. For many in China even the buffeting by the gale that has hit the global economy has a bracing message. The rise of China over the past three decades has been astonishing. But it has lacked the one feature it needed fully to satisfy the ultranationalist fringe: an accompanying decline of the West. Now capitalism is in a funk in its heartlands. Europe and Japan, embroiled in the deepest post-war recession, are barely worth consideration as rivals. America, the superpower, has passed its peak. Although in public China’s leaders eschew triumphalism, there is a sense in Beijing that the reassertion of the Middle Kingdom’s global ascendancy is at hand (see article).

China’s prime minister, Wen Jiabao, no longer sticks to the script that China is a humble player in world affairs that wants to focus on its own economic development. He talks of China as a “great power” and worries about America’s profligate spending endangering his $1 trillion nest egg there. Incautious remarks by the new American treasury secretary about China manipulating its currency were dismissed as ridiculous; a duly penitent Hillary Clinton was welcomed in Beijing, but as an equal. This month saw an apparent attempt to engineer a low-level naval confrontation with an American spy ship in the South China Sea. Yet at least the Americans get noticed. Europe, that speck on the horizon, is ignored: an EU summit was cancelled and France is still blacklisted because Nicolas Sarkozy dared to meet the Dalai Lama.

Continue reading at The Economist . . .

Global Forces Converge to Drive up Oil Prices (Wash Post)

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

[Editor's note: January begins newspaper design association page contest season. We came across this graphic looking thru our 2008 work in the Washington Post and was reminded how it fits in with my geography and projections as network topology thesis. Lines on this map of "Major Global Trade Routes" of oil connect each geographic feature with related geographic features. Weights are given to each connection and represented visually. Overall the network is conformal to real geography in a top level abstract sense, but the connections (flow lines) between them shine. Kudos to Renée, now at the Wall Street Journal.]

Reprinted from The Washington Post, July 27, 2008.

In the time it takes most people to read this sentence, the world will have used up (forever) about 9,520 barrels of oil. At 40,000 gallons per second, it’s going fast.

The United States plays a central role in the global energy system as the largest consumer, the largest importer and the third-largest producer of oil in the world. With use of this finite resource rising at breakneck speed, will the world have enough to meet its needs, and will it be able to afford it?

TOP OIL PRODUCERS
Where does the oil come from? Just three countries — Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United States — pump about 31 percent of the world’s oil. More than 9 million barrels per day of crude oil (plus another 1 million barrels per day of liquids derived from natural gas) are being extracted from the reserves underneath Saudi Arabia, the world’s single largest oil producer.

TOP OIL CONSUMERS
Every day, the U.S. consumes more than 20 million barrels — almost one-fourth of all the oil used in the world and more than two times as much as the second-biggest consumer, China. Consumption in most developed countries, including Britain, France, Germany and Italy, hovers around 2 million barrels a day — barely a tenth of that used by the U.S.

Screenshots below and above. Download PDF.

Graphics reported by Brenna Maloney, graphics by Todd Lindeman — The Washington Post. Map by Renée Rigdon – The Washington Post.

Climate Change: The Carbon Atlas (Guardian)

Friday, December 19th, 2008

[Editor's note: China has surpassed the USA as the #1 worst fossil fuels polluter in the world, according to the Guardian. They have updated their Carbon Atlas with new numbers and an interactive version, shown below (still has Dorling cartograms!). I earlier blogged about last year's print version here. Data is from Energy Information Administration. Seen at designnotes.info. I like the little animated hand on the graphic showing that it can be interacted with.]

Republished from the Guardian.Christine Oliver, Tuesday 9 December 2008.

New figures confirm that China has overtaken the US as the largest emitter of CO2. This interactive emissions map shows how the rest of the world compares. Global C02 emissions totaled 29,195m tonnes in 2006 – up 2.4% on 2005.

Read more in the associated article at Guardian.

Lump Together and Like It (Economist)

Friday, November 14th, 2008

[Editor's note: Returning from traveling in China, cities, growth, and urban geography are on my mind. Enjoy this article from the Economist about a rapidly urbanizing world populous, and how that is not necessarily a bad thing for poverty and wealth.]

Reprinted from The Economist print edition. Nov 6th 2008.

The problems—and benefits—of urbanisation on a vast scale

IN JANUARY this year a vast number of would-be travellers were stranded at railway stations and on roads in China, after an unusually heavy snowfall blanketed the south of the country just before the country’s new-year festivities. What amazed the world (in addition to the unusual sight of a prime minister apologising for his government’s slowness) was the unprecedented scale of the disruption: an estimated 200m people were on the move.

Governments in many poor countries react with a shudder to this sort of news item—and indeed to any news that seems to expose the fragility of newly urbanised economies. Most of those frustrated Chinese travellers were migrant workers going from cities to their families in the countryside or vice versa. Movement on such a scale seems inevitable, given the sort of urbanisation China and others have experienced: over the past 30 years, the world’s urban population has risen from 1.6 billion to 3.3 billion, and over the next 30 years cities in the developing world are set to grow by an extra 2 billion. But many governments have become doubtful of their ability to cope with urbanisation on such an enormous scale; some have concluded that they ought to slow the process down in order to minimise social upheaval. This view owes as much to anti-urban bias as it does to sober analysis.

In 2005, more than half the poor countries surveyed by the UN Population Division said they wanted to reduce internal migration to rein in urban growth. The food crisis of the past 18 months has sharpened worries about how to feed the teeming slums. This week the UN’s secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, warned the biennial World Urban Forum meeting in Nanjing that 2 billion could be living in slums in the year 2030 and that “urban areas consume most of the world’s energy and are generating the bulk of our waste.”

Such fears of urban over-concentration are reflected in the policies of many different countries. Saudi Arabia is spending billions on new super-cities to ease the growth of Jeddah and Riyadh. Egypt is building 20 new cities to divert people away from Cairo. It plans 45 more. And attempts by poor countries to alter the course of urbanisation have a long pedigree in the rich world. In the 1950s and 1960s, Britain and France built lots of new towns to counter-balance their capitals’ dominance.

Yet new research published by the World Bank in its annual flagship World Development Report* suggests that pessimism over the future of huge cities is wildly overdone. The bank argues that third-world cities grow so big and so fast precisely because they generate vast economic advantages, and that these gains may be increasing. Slowing urbanisation down, or pushing it towards places not linked with world markets, is costly and futile, the bank says. At a time of contagion and bail-outs, the research also reaffirms the unfashionable view that the basic facts of geography—where people live and work, how they get around—matter as much as financial and fiscal policies. (The award of this year’s Nobel prize for economics to Paul Krugman of Princeton University for his work on the location of economic activity was another reflection of that view.)

The bank’s research yields lots of new insights. It argues, for example, that the share of humanity that lives in cities is slightly lower than most people think. The bank drew up a fresh index to get around the knotty problem of defining “urban”; this new measure puts the world’s city-dwelling population at about 47% in 2000. In fact—as Indermit Gill, who oversaw the report, acknowledges—it is impossible to pinpoint the proportion: the urban slice of humanity may be anywhere between 45% and 55%, depending on how you count. The report’s main point is that, whatever their exact dimensions, the Gotham Cities of the poor world should not be written off as a disaster simply on grounds that they are too big, too chaotic, too polluted and too unequal.

(more…)

China Pictures 1st (Kelso)

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

I vacationed in China for 12 days at the end of October 2008 and returned just in time to participate in Obama’s smashing victory over McCain in the US presidential contest.

Here is a quick selection of my photos from Shanghai, West Lake / Huang Zhou, Jing de Zhen, Huang Shan / Yellow Mountains, and Beijing / Great Wall. I’ll be posting more later with some trip discussion and photo captions.

To see the photos blown up, click on the photo thumbnail below, and then click on the next page’s thumbnail to see the larger resolution image. Sorry, WordPress is lame about this.

Live Maps in China: An Interview with Vincent Tao (O’Reilly)

Monday, August 18th, 2008

 

[Editor's note: Somehow I missed this December announcement for Microsoft's new street map service for China. The entire interface is in Chinese characters but the functionality is the same as the English version. Zoom into Beijing and check out all the Olympic sites or plan your next visit by launching the ditu "world" map via Microsoft Local Live maps (view). This street map geometry is much more complete than the normal Local Live map site (view). Thanks Yifang!]

Republished from O’Reilly Radar on Dec. 13th 2007.

Earlier today [December] Microsoft’s Live Maps launched in China (Radar post). Dr. Vincent Tao, founder of Microsoft-acquisition GeoTango and now Senior Director in the Virtual Earth org, led the project. I sent over some questions about the release (114 cities), future plans (an API) and Chinese data policy (strict). Vincent kindly responded.

See the full text of the interview below: 
vincent tao
Can you tell us about coverage? What exactly launched today? What’s the difference in the platform between VE China and VE everywhere else? 

[VT] The China release demonstrates our success in deploying our first VE data center remotely. We now have an in-country data center offering the better system performance and greater user experiences. This distributed mapping architecture allows us to grow the international markets in a scalable way. In this first release, VE China covers both tier-1 and tier-2 total 114 cities with very rich local contents (millions of POI/YP). In addition to most VE features in USA, China release offers the public transit feature for bus and train commuters. We understand that this is the most demanding feature for China users when concerning maps. We cannot afford not having this feature even for v1 release. 

Getting access to Chinese geo data is notoriously hard. Who are you getting the data from? Is it handled via a joint-venture? Where are your servers located? 
[VT] Our road map data is coming from AutoNavi, a Chinese leading data provider for on-line and navigation maps. We have a distributed system architecture but our mapping data is served from our MSN JV company. 

China is the only country mapped. Is there a reason that US or UK streets aren’t available? 
[VT] I guess that you are referring to ditu.live.com site. The release is focused on Chinese speaking users. We are working the design of multi-language mapping system. 

Who are your local competitors? 
[VT] There are no serious local competitors out there in the mapping vertical, though Baidu and Google have some good presence in the market given its strong market share in web search. 

There’s been recent issues with the Chinese government redirecting traffic from Microsoft and Google to Baidu. Do you have any concerns about being blocked by the government? 
[VT] We have worked closely with the Chinese authorities from day one when building our VE services for China. We follow the government regulations carefully and also proactively exchange our ideas on some of their data policy issues.

What’s coming in the future? Will there be an API? Will there be aerial or satellite imagery? Why is there satellite imagery of China in the US version and not in the Chinese version? 
[VT] We have our roadmap for China VE services both in B2C and B2B. Our VE API will be available for enterprise and mashup users in a not too distant future. We are looking into the image solutions. So far there are some issues, not technical, about on-line image publishing in China. 

Was the data allowed to leave China? What other restrictions were placed on the data and its use? 
[vt] The map data is not allowed to leave the border. Some other countries also have the same regulations (Korea for example). In China, maps can only be provided by the licensed map data providers. Also the on-line publishing maps need to go through a ‘encryption’ process whereby map coordinates are transformed to an unknown coordinate system (not in Lat/Long). This is mainly for the national security reason as far as I know.

What are the issues surrounding showing images? Why would they be more concerned about their own population seeing them? Is http://maps.live.com blocked in China? 
[vt] The same reason as above. In general, mapping is a highly regulated area in China and so on-line mapping services. Given the incredible opportunity in China commercial mapping market and the coming Olympic event, the China mapping agency is actively developing and examining their data policy and regulations. I was using maps.live.com when I was travelling China. Our site is running just fine.

Today, we have two good news: China Virtual Earth release and MultiMap acquisition. We are on our way to our international roadmap!

Paula Scher: Maps as Tag Clouds?!

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

paula scher europe

paula scher europe detail

Paula Scher has produced a series of nifty map art that focuses more on placenames than their locational placement. The placenames are in correct “relative” space but not absolute space. The names all run together in a placename tapestry where they swirl in colorful waves and eddies. Thanks Curt!

From the Maya Stendhal Gallery press release:

Maya Stendhal Gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of renowned artist and graphic designer Paula Scher, which runs from November 8, 2007 through January 26, 2008. Scher expands on her highly acclaimed Maps series to create her most engaging work yet, depicting entire continents, countries and cities from all over the world that have been the critical focus of attention in recent headlines.

Through an acute understanding of the powerful relationship between type and image, Scher harmonizes witty with tragic, the methodical with the intuitive, and the personal with the universal in these new paintings. Dynamic images are saturated with layers of elaborate line, explosions of words, and bright colors creating a plethora of visual information that produces an emotive response to places lived, visited, and imagined. Scher’s maps also reflect the abundance of information that inundates us daily through newspapers, radio, television, and the Internet to reveal the fact that much of what we hear and read is strewn with inaccuracy, distorted facts, and subjectivity.

On view will be Tsunami (2006) depicting the area that was ravaged by the destructive natural force on December 26, 2004. Evoking memories of compassion and grief, the image is covered by a swirling vortex of words denoting towns, cities, and areas, which echo the violent rotation of that monumental storm. Paris’s (2007) bold blue and white péripherique rigidly maintains the city’s borders. While inside, Paris as we know it beams in a captivating latticework of blue, yellow, green, and purple exuding the city’s sense of vitality and charm. China (2006) shows a colossal landmass with cities, provinces, and roads pulsating in reds, blues, greens, and yellows. Listed above are the astounding statistics that make China one of the world’s great centers of capitalism and culture. Manhattan at night (2007) glows in deep jewel tones of purple, blue, green, and black. This enchanting quality is sobered as the median incomes of various neighborhoods disclose the very different realities of city residents. NYC Transit (2007) projects the city in intricate layers of line, text, and color that culminate with the iconic map of the New York City subway system. The major outsourcing destination of India (2007) takes form in a giant pink landmass accented with bright blue and green road markers and orange location names, which give the impression of a sign for its popular Bollywood industry. Israel (2007) presents the country and bordering countries including Egypt, Palestine, Jordon, Syria, and Iran. Text representing cities and regions is written in varying, haphazard directions communicating a visual sense of conflict and discord. Middle East (2007) segregates the area by rendering each country in its own bold color. The land’s sordid past is remembered through hatch marks and dots representing the Babylonian Empire, Moslem Empire, Ottoman Empire, and Roman Empire.

Ms. Scher began her career creating album covers for CBS Recordings in the 1970ís. She moved on to art direction for magazines at Time Inc., and in the 1980ís formed her own boutique firm, Koppel & Scher. She has been a principal at the New York-based Pentagram design consultancy since 1991, where she has created visual identities for Citibank, The New York Public Theater, and the American Museum of Natural History, among others.

Further reading:

Andy Woodruff over at the Cartogrammar blog has a post that lists other tag cloud like maps with images.