Posts Tagged ‘europe’

Natural Earth updated to version 1.2

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

This update introduces supplementary hydrography features in North America and Europe that quadruple (4x) the number of lakes and rivers there. Many thanks to Tom P. for generalizing the vectors and Preston M. for adding tapering to North America (absent in Europe). In some cases the basic 10m rivers and lakes were modified to fit the new information and that’s been refreshed, as well. The North America data comes from the CEC North America Environmental Atlas. The Europe data extract is kindly provided into the public domain by the European Commission, Joint Research Centre (JRC), thanks Alfred J! Check out their original, higher resolution Europe data.

On the cultural front, North America gets roads and rails. General 10m detail roads and railroads come from the CEC North America Environmental Atlas. The supplementary roads are donated by XNR Productions and are at 1m scale, thanks Laura M. and Rob!

If you have data or time to contribute, especially to flesh out the new transportation and hydro themes, please contact me at nathaniel@naturalearthdata.com.

Note: We are not committing to building out supplementary level of detail in the rest of the world (we’re not THAT crazy!), but will incorporate such data if you contribute it. As always, we edit these data files but you should too before you publish maps using them. Feed us back corrections.

Download new or updated files »
(54.11 MB) version 1.2.0

(below) Rivers and lakes in North America. On the left the version 1.1 hydro features. On the right in color are the new, supplemental version 1.2 hydro features, 4x the density of features at the same 10m linework generalization.

northamerica_extra_10m_hydro

(below) Rivers and lakes in Europe. On the left the version 1.1 hydro features. On the right in color are the new, supplemental version 1.2 hydro features, 4x the density of features at the same 10m linework generalization.

europe_hydro_extra_10m

(below) Highways (red and blue) and ferry routes in North America.

northamerica_10m_roads_base

(below) Supplemental road detail in North America. Slightly different feature class scheme and data vintage.

northamerica_10m_roads_extra

(below) Railroads in North America.

northamerica_10m_railroads_base

With Flights Grounded, Kenya’s Produce Wilts (NY Times)

Tuesday, April 20th, 2010

20kenya_span-articlelarge

[Editor’s note: Travelers might be inconvenienced by the recent volcanic ash plume shutting down air traffic over Europe but lack of transport also affects our global just-in-time food supply chain, as this article from the New York Times highlights. Photo by Jehad Nga. Thanks K!]

Republished from the New York Times.
By JEFFREY GETTLEMAN. Published: April 19, 2010

NAIROBI, Kenya — When Kenneth Maundu, general manager for Sunripe produce exporters, first heard about a volcano erupting in Iceland, he was excited. “I thought, ‘Oh, wow, a volcano,’ ” he said.

And then reality hit him in the face like a hurled tomato.

Because Kenya’s gourmet vegetable and cut-flower industry exports mainly to Europe, and because the cloud of volcanic ash has grounded flights to much of northern Europe since Thursday, its horticultural business has been waylaid as never before.

On Monday, Mr. Maundu stared at the towering wreckage: eight-feet-tall heaps of perfectly good carrots, onions, baby sweet corn and deliciously green sugar snap peas being dumped into the back of a pickup truck.

“Cow food,” he said, shaking his head. “That’s about all we can do with it now.”

If farmers in Africa’s Great Rift Valley ever doubted that they were intricately tied into the global economy, they know now that they are. Because of a volcanic eruption more than 5,000 miles away, Kenyan horticulture, which as the top foreign exchange earner is a critical piece of the national economy, is losing $3 million a day and shedding jobs.

Continue reading at the New York Times . . .

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…)

Gitmo In Limbo (Wash Post)

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

[Editor’s note: While President Obama has committed to closing the military prison at Guantanamo Bay within a year, it’s hard to know what to do with some of the prisoners.

This graphic reminds me of the old adage about people being able to deal only 5±2 things at once. There are almost 200 countries in the world. It’s hard to keep track of them all. But there are only 7 continents, and those are easy to remember because it fits the 5±2 rule. To instead of listing out all those countries alphabetically or ordered by number of detainees, sometimes it is more useful to group them first by geographic “region”. Note: Washington Post style views the Middle East as a separate continent-level region from Asia. Thank also to Laris for formulating these ideas with me.

Why wasn’t this information shown on a map instead of listed in a structured table with charting? For several reasons: Geography, while useful as an metaphorical principle, does not function as a the most important thematic (organizing) principle in the distribution. We know nothing about where the individual detainees are from in each country so we would have had to create a by country choropleth map which would have given a false importance to larger countries like China, and been hard to show the three thematic subcategories. We could have placed the thematic symbols (1 for each detainee and color coded to their status, like in the table) on each country, but then it would have been harder to compare each country between countries for number and type of detainee as each entry would not have shared a common baseline. A table with charting accomplishes our goals: We list the countries sorted by number of detainees and grouped by continent. This serves the same function as a map would have in terms of giving in indication as to where each country is (metaphorical principle, reminding readers of the country’s location in the network topology). And we get to easily compare the quantities and thematic types associated with those countries at a glance because of the common chart axis baseline.

What exactly are continents anyhow? Geology seems to have moved on to plate techtonics with 20-some major plates that often meet or rip apart the middle of “continents”, but continents remain popular I think exactly because of the 5±2 rule.

Some cartographers are moving beyond the physical geography “continents” into top-level cultural regions. Allan Cartography’s Raven world map does exactly this, take a look. The same holds true for any large set of thematic data. Find the trends, group them together, and use that hierarchy (topology) as an access metaphor. And remember geography doesn’t always need to mean map. Your users will thank you.]

Republished from The Washington Post.
Orginally published: 16 February 2009.
Reporting by Julie Tate.

About a third of the detainees held at Guantanamo are either facing charges or approved for release. The rest are judged to be enemy combatants, and it is unclear whether they will be prosecuted, be released or continue to be held.


RELATED ARTICLE:
4 Cases Illustrate Guantanamo Quandaries
Administration Must Decide Fate of Often-Flawed Proceedings, Often-Dangerous Prisoners

Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 16, 2009; Page A01

In their summary of evidence against Mohammed Sulaymon Barre, a Somali detained at Guantanamo Bay, military investigators allege that he spent several years at Osama bin Laden’s compound in Sudan. But other military documents place him in Pakistan during the same period.

One hearing at Guantanamo cited his employment for a money-transfer company with links to terrorism financing. Another file drops any mention of such links.

Barre is one of approximately 245 detainees at the military prison in Cuba whose fate the Obama administration must decide in coming months. Teams of government lawyers are sorting through complex, and often flawed, case histories as they work toward President Obama’s commitment to close the facility within a year.

Much of the government’s evidence remains classified, but documents in Barre’s case, and a handful of others, underscore the daunting legal, diplomatic, security and political challenges.

As officials try to decide who can be released and who can be charged, they face a series of murky questions: what to do when the evidence is contradictory or tainted by allegations of torture; whether to press charges in military or federal court; what to do if prisoners are deemed dangerous but there is little or no evidence against them that would stand up in court; and where to send prisoners who might be killed or tortured if they are returned home.

Answering those questions, said current and former officials, is a massive undertaking that has been hampered by a lack of cooperation among agencies and by records that are physically scattered and lacking key details.

Continue reading at Washington Post . . .

Gas Woe’s for Europe (Wash Post)

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

[Editor's note: Beautiful, compact map in Thursday's paper showing 4 main natural gas pipelines feeding Europe from Russia on a globe. I think this map is by Laris Karklis. He even has the Arctic Circle on there!]

Republished from The Washington Post. By Philip P. Pan. Thursday, January 8, 2009; Page A08

Economy, Politics Stoke Russia-Ukraine Gas Quarrel
Deliveries Halted To European Users As Feud Deepens 

MOSCOW, Jan. 7 — Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Russia and Ukraine have wrangled over fuel prices, with both sides holding a powerful bargaining chip. Russia has had the natural gas Ukraine needs to power its industries. Ukraine has owned the pipelines Russia depends on to transport the gas it sells to Europe.

The two have often engaged in brinkmanship, threatening to cut off deliveries. But they have never followed through on the threats for very long – until now.

A confluence of factors tied to the global economic crisis and political uncertainty in both countries have altered the dynamics of the annual dispute. For the first time, Russian gas deliveries to Europe through Ukraine came to a complete halt Wednesday, as the standoff between the two countries stretched into a seventh day.

Russia accused Ukraine of shutting down pipelines that deliver a fifth of the continent’s fuel, while Ukraine charged that Russia had simply stopped sending gas. With more than a dozen countries scrambling to maintain heat and electricity amid a bitter cold snap, the European Union urged both countries to accept international monitors to verify gas flows.

Direct talks were scheduled to resume Thursday, but analysts said progress would be difficult for the same mix of economic and political reasons that led the two nations to dig in this week instead of compromising, as they had done in years past.

With its economy in deep trouble, Ukraine has little to lose by using its control of European fuel shipments to resist Russia’s demand for a price increase. By contrast, Russia is suffering huge losses in immediate gas revenue and enormous damage to its reputation as an energy partner seeking European investment. Yet political considerations seem to have prevented the Kremlin from surrendering.

Continue reading at Washington Post . . .

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.