Posts Tagged ‘jag’

Online Maps: Everyman Offers New Directions (NY Times)

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

zooatlantabeforeatlantazooopenstreetmap[Editor’s note: As my music prof was want to remind, the only difference between amateur and professional is one gets paid and the other doesn’t. My hope is Google Maps starts offering user-generated geodata back to the community, like OpenStreetMap.org now does. Left image is before community edits, right is after. Thanks Nora!]

Republished from the New York Times.

SAN FRANCISCO — They don’t know it, but people who use Google’s online maps may be getting directions from Richard Hintz.

Mr. Hintz, a 62-year-old engineer who lives in Berkeley, Calif., has tweaked the locations of more than 200 business listings and points of interest in cities across the state, sliding an on-screen place marker down the block here, moving another one across the street there. Farther afield, he has mapped parts of Cambodia and Laos, where he likes to go on motorcycle trips.

Mr. Hintz said these acts of geo-volunteerism were motivated in part by self-interest: he wants to know where he’s going. But “it has this added attraction that it helps others,” he said.

Mr. Hintz is a foot soldier in an army of volunteer cartographers who are logging every detail of neighborhoods near and far into online atlases. From Petaluma to Peshawar, these amateurs are arming themselves with GPS devices and easy-to-use software to create digital maps where none were available before, or fixing mistakes and adding information to existing ones.

Like contributors to Wikipedia before them, they are democratizing a field that used to be the exclusive domain of professionals and specialists. And the information they gather is becoming increasingly valuable commercially.

Google, for example, sees maps playing a growing strategic role in its business, especially as people use cellphones to find places to visit, shop and eat. It needs reliable data about the locations of businesses and other destinations.

“The way you get that data is having users precisely locate things,” said John Hanke, a vice president of product management who oversees Google’s mapping efforts.

People have been contributing information to digital maps for some time, building displays of crime statistics or apartment rentals. Now they are creating and editing the underlying maps of streets, highways, rivers and coastlines.

“It is a huge shift,” said Michael F. Goodchild, a professor of geography at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “This is putting mapping where it should be, which is the hands of local people who know an area well.”

That is changing the dynamics of an industry that has been dominated by a handful of digital mapping companies like Tele Atlas and Navteq.

Google is increasingly bypassing those traditional map providers. It has relied on volunteers to create digital maps of 140 countries, including India, Pakistan and the Philippines, that are more complete than many maps created professionally.

Last month Google dropped Tele Atlas data from its United States maps, choosing to rely instead on government data and other sources, including updates from users.

“They have coverage in areas that the big mapping guys don’t have,” said Mike Dobson, a mapping industry consultant who once worked at Rand McNally. “It has the opportunity to cause a lot of disruption in these industries.”

Continue reading at New York Times . . .

I’m Not Hanging Noodles on your Ears (National Geographic)

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

cover_plus_spine_full

[Editor’s note: That’s what Russians say when they’re not pulling your leg. This book from National Geographic has this and other intriguing idioms from around the world. It’s beautifully illustrated by New Yorker cartoonist Julia Suits. Good for the holiday gift list. Thanks Jag!]

Republished from HangingNoodles.com.

That’s what Russians say when they’re not pulling your leg.

From National Geographic Books by Jag Bhalla

A collection of 1,000 funny and intriguing expressions from around the world.
These odd sayings say a lot about how odd the human mind can be.

NPR “An Enchanting Tour” listen and read here
The Splendid Table on the food chapter listen and read here
PRI “A Banquet of foreign idioms” listen here
Guardian “On the joys of idioms” read here
Guardian quiz read here
“On language addiction (its our most ubiquitous mind altering drug) and the thrill of the novel (semantic ambush)” read here

Example Idioms

Not hanging noodles on your ears: Russian – not kidding

To live like a maggot in bacon: German – live in luxury

Like fingernail and dirt: Spanish, Mexico – well suited

Bang your butt on the ground: French – die laughing

Plucked like a chicken: Yiddish – exhausted

To bite the elbow: Russian – to cry over spilt milk

Smoke from 7 orifices of head: Chinese – to be furious

To become naked: Japanese – to go broke, poor

An ant milker: Arabic – a miser, tight wad

Give it to someone with cheese: Spanish – to deceive

Squeezer of limes: Hindi – self invited guest, idler

To break wind into silk: French – live the life of Riley

To reheat cabbage: Italian – rekindle an old flame

Continue reading and buy at HangingNoodles.com . . .

The Map as Art: Contemporary Artist Explore Cartographically (Katharine Harmon)

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

[Editor’s note: I picked up this fascinating read while in San Francisco earlier this month and devoured the artwork and critical essays by Gayle Clemans on the flight back to DC. Features pieces by Maya Lin and Paula Scher previously mentioned here. Thanks Jag!]

Artists & designers using the map medium for experimental art & innovation http://su.pr/2sijN4

Republished from BrainPickings.

What tattoo art has to do with fashion, vintage atlases and Nazi concentration camps.

We’ve always been fascinated by maps — through various elements of design, from typography to color theory to data visualization, they brilliantly condense and capture complex notions about space, scale, topography, politics and more. But where things get most interesting is that elusive intersection of the traditional and the experimental, where artists explore the map medium as a conceptual tool of abstract representation. And that’s exactly what The Map of the Art, a fantastic Morning News piece by Katharine Harmon, examines.

Corriette Schoenaerts, ‘Europe,’ 2005

Schoenaerts, a conceptual photographer living in Amsterdam, constructs countries and continents out of clothing.

Qin Ga, ‘Site 22: Mao Zedong Temple,’ 2005

In 2002, China’s Long March Project embarked upon a ‘Walking Visual Display’ along the route of the 1934-1936 historic 6000-mile Long March, and Beijing-based artist Qin kept tracked the group’s route in a tattooed map on his back. Three years later, Qin continued the trek where the original marchers had left off, accompanied by a camera crew and a tattoo artist, who continually updated the map on Qin’s back.

Continue reading at BrainPickings . . .