Posts Tagged ‘florida’

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”.

Interactive Map: The Shaping of America (Atlantic Mag)

Friday, March 6th, 2009

[Editor’s note: Interactive Google Maps mashup based in Flex (Flash) animating maps of 3 themes showing the US cities and how they stand to benefit or loose from the current economic crises. From the Atlantic, “Urban theorist Richard Florida explains how the current meltdown will forever change our geography.” Thanks Laris!]

Republished from the Atlantic magazine.
Text by Richard Florida. Interactive by Charlie Szymanski.
March 2009 edition.

“No place in the United States is likely to escape a long and deep recession. Nonetheless, as the crisis continues to spread outward from New York, through industrial centers like Detroit, and into the Sun Belt, it will undoubtedly settle much more heavily on some places than on others. Some cities and regions will eventually spring back stronger than before. Others may never come back at all. As the crisis deepens, it will permanently and profoundly alter the country’s economic landscape. I believe it marks the end of a chapter in American economic history, and indeed, the end of a whole way of life.”

Continue reading full article at The Atlantic magazine . . .

View original interactive version. Two more views from the interactive.

Bikers, Pedestrians Seeking Better Web Maps (AP)

Sunday, July 27th, 2008

philla bike(Reprinted from the Associated Press’ Mobile News Network. Thanks Curt!)

By PATRICK WALTERS. Published: Jul 25, 2008

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — With the old gas-guzzler in the garage, you’ve got your bicycle ready and your sneakers laced up. Now all you need is a map of the quickest, safest routes for riding around town. Well, not so fast.

As more commuters consider ditching their cars to save money on gas, Internet mapping services, cities and community groups are being pushed to lay out the best routes for biking and walking — just like drivers have found online for years.

Technical and practical roadblocks stand between such a network becoming ubiquitous, but there are signs of progress in this world of $4-a-gallon gas.

Google Inc. just launched a walking-directions service. MapQuest is reporting more use of its “avoid highways” function and offering a walking directions service on cell phones. And some cities have developed detailed online maps to help walkers, bikers and transit-riders find the fastest routes.

“They haven’t yet reached the Holy Grail of ‘I want to go from here to there, show me my options,’” said Bryce Nesbitt, a walking and biking advocate in the San Francisco area.

The first challenge: how to account for factors that make bicycle and walking routes different from driving paths.

Pedestrians need sidewalks, but don’t have to abide by one-way streets. Walkers and bikers can cut through paths or trails not meant for cars, but they must avoid highways. Bikers, unlike walkers, need to think about whether a road is paved, and are prohibited from sidewalks in some cities.

All these variables mean the fastest, easiest route for a driver may not be the same as for someone on foot or riding a bike. And developing a comprehensive system for non-drivers requires a tricky step: collecting huge volumes of local metadata and getting them on national databases used by mapping services.

“In the U.S. we are primarily a driving country, or have been for a very, very long time,” said Christian Dwyer, MapQuest’s senior vice president and general manager.

Advocates believe making electronic walking and biking directions available on the Internet could help change that culture, especially in urban areas.

The technical challenge involves overlaying detailed information for walkers and bikers onto existing online maps, and then applying it to algorithms used to lay out the quickest routes. If some path, walkway or shortcut is on a map but not accounted for in the algorithm, it may be useless.

“There are some horror stories of the past of people being routed onto the Appalachian Trail or a couple driving off the ferry dock,” said Jay Benson, vice president of global strategic planning for Tele Atlas, an international mapping company that supplies data to Google, MapQuest and others.

But if these tweaks are done right, the Internet mapping services could tell a biker to use, say, a riverside trail to avoid congestion, while showing a walker to dart through a parking lot to cut off a corner — or at the very least to head against car traffic on one-way streets.

Some local efforts are already having some success.

In Atlanta, a nonprofit group set up a Web site last fall that lets people punch in whether they are walking, biking or using transit — and then get specific directions. New York also has a site that helps bikers avoid roads that aren’t meant for biking and make maximum use of roads with bike lanes and greenways.

In Broward County, Fla., planners are working on a project that would let users factor in things such as speed limits, traffic volume, lane widths and shortcuts.

The project, shooting for online launch by next summer, has programmers looking at aerial maps and punching key factors into the route-setting algorithms. They also incorporate things like where people or bikers can make left turns but cars can’t.

“I get a lot of calls from people, especially now with gas prices being up, looking for routes for how to get to work,” said Mark E. Horowitz, the county’s bicycle/pedestrian coordinator.

This week, Google Maps launched a feature that offers walking directions for trips shorter than 6.2 miles. That is being added to a feature already helping visitors find the best mass transit routes.

Mapmakers and route planners say they need to capitalize on existing community knowledge. That would be a change for companies like Tele Atlas, which typically goes out and test drives road routes itself. But it is open to accepting bike and pedestrian route information from cities and community groups if it can be verified from multiple sources.

In Philadelphia, for example, regular walkers and bikers know many shortcuts that save time. A bicycle commuter traveling from the northern edge of downtown to residential and commercial areas to the south knows he doesn’t need to meander through the congestion of Center City; taking a paved trail along the Schuylkill River takes time and heartache off the trip.

Such “secrets” could be shared with newcomers or tourists if they were added to online maps.

“The easier you make it for people … the more they’re going to do it,” said Joe Minott, executive director of Philadelphia’s Clean Air Council.