Posts Tagged ‘mental map’

German dialects and migration: How linguistic variations affect where Germans choose to live (Economist)

Friday, August 13th, 2010

201012eum978[Editor's note: Sprechen Sie Deutsch? I keep returning to this article from the Economist from earlier this year in March. You might also enjoy: What's the point of counties? (UK) and The English apple season starts – though they're hard to find.]

Republished from the Economist.

FEW Germans now say Appel rather thanApfel (apple) or maken instead of machen(to make). The north German dialects that use such variants are mostly dead or dying. But the cultural differences that they reflect still govern behaviour today, says a paper from the Institute for the Study of Labour, in Bonn*.

Acting on imperial orders in the 1880s, a linguist called Georg Wenker asked pupils from 45,000 schools across the new Reich to translate standard German sentences into local dialect. The results were used to compile an atlas of linguistic diversity. The new paper shows that Wenker’s dialect regions still define the comfort zones in which Germans prefer to live. When people migrate within Germany, they tend to go to places where dialects resemble those spoken in their home region 120 years ago.

German dialects, formed by geography and political and religious fragmentation, express deep-seated cultural differences. These persist even though borders between petty princedoms are invisible (and often no longer audible). Even small differences count. Swabians share Baden-Württemberg with Badeners. Both spoke Alemannic dialects. But Swabians, who say Haus (house), have a bias against living in the neighbouring old grand duchy, where they say Huus.

That trade is livelier among regions that share a language is well known. The paper’s authors think they are the first to find a similar effect within a single language in one country. They measure migration not trade, because the data are better and cultural factors matter more. The best predictors are still Wenker’s maps. “Even when we don’t speak dialect, the cultural territory is still there,” says Alfred Lameli, one of the authors.

Does this confuse cause and effect? Regions may have similar dialects because earlier generations migrated and their descendants follow suit. To rule this out, the authors looked at the way communist East Germany weakened social links that encourage migration. After unification, they found, the old migration patterns came back, suggesting that migrants respond to cultural factors more than to social ties. It seems that neither television, nor the autobahn, nor even the Kaiser, has created a single country in Germany.

*“Dialects, Cultural Identity, and Economic Exchange” by Oliver Falck, Stephan Heblich, Alfred Lameli and Jens Südekum, IZA, February 2010

Steps into Mapping the Unmapped (Rural Focus) – Mapping on Mount Elgon (Mapping: No Big Deal)

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

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[Editor's note: Humorous take on surveying and ground truthing from the neogeography perspective in Africa. Topics include season planning, mental maps, asking for local knowledge, keeping a trip diary, and sharing results back with the surveyed community.]

Republished from Mapping: No Big Deal.

Mapping hardly accessible, rural areas, is always a challenge. Each area differs so you have to tackle it in its own special way. Yet some basic steps are always the same. I have written some of them down.

In July, Mildred and I went mapping on Mount Elgon as contractors for the National Democratic Institute (NDI) on behalf of Map Kibera. They needed information regarding polling stations in the area for their work on election monitoring. The information included geographic location, accessibility – both physical accessibility and the availability of cell phone service, information related to infrastructure of these stations, and speed of travel to each individual station.

Here is how we tackled the problems step by step:

1. Season planning.

The first and most important step in planning the mapping project is season planning. Obviously you want your work to run smoothly, without too many interruptions which is most of the time not the case. Season planning saves time, energy, money and nerves, takes the nature out of the equation, and lets you focus on other – project related problems.

While mapping on Mount Elgon we overlooked this very crucial step because the results were urgently needed. In an ignorant human and naïve researchers manner we  thought we could conquer nature or at least go over every obstacle it put on our way. We should have known better. June and July being the peak of winter, it was cold and raining all the time. We only had a window of six hours per day when we could work, and the other eight hours we tried to save ourselves from the mountain. Because of the rain, roads became impassable and everything came to a standstill. I can comfortably say we lost at least two to three days of mapping because of the rain and as a result we lost money.

Continue reading at Mapping: No Big Deal . . .

Why California Is Still America’s Future (And That’s a Good Thing Too) (Time mag)

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

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[Editor's note: The cover story and map from this week's Time magazine features California made to look like a circuit board (image above).]

Republished form Time.

Despite Its Woes, California’s Dream Still Lives

California, you may have heard, is an apocalyptic mess of raging wildfires, soaring unemployment, mass foreclosures and political paralysis. It’s dysfunctional. It’s ungovernable. Its bond rating is barely above junk. It’s so broke, it had to hand out IOUs while its leaders debated how many prisoners to release and parks to close. Nevada aired ads mocking California’s business climate to lure its entrepreneurs. The media portray California as a noir fantasyland of overcrowded schools, perpetual droughts, celebrity breakdowns, illegal immigration, hellish congestion and general malaise, captured in headlines like “Meltdown on the Ocean” and “California’s Wipeout Economy” and “Will California Become America’s First Failed State?”

Actually, it won’t.

Ignore the California whinery. It’s still a dream state. In fact, the pioneering megastate that gave us microchips, freeways, blue jeans, tax revolts, extreme sports, energy efficiency, health clubs, Google searches, Craigslist, iPhones and the Hollywood vision of success is still the cutting edge of the American future — economically, environmentally, demographically, culturally and maybe politically. It’s the greenest and most diverse state, the most globalized in general and most Asia-oriented in particular at a time when the world is heading in all those directions. It’s also an unparalleled engine of innovation, the mecca of high tech, biotech and now clean tech. In 2008, California’s wipeout economy attracted more venture capital than the rest of the nation combined. Somehow its supposedly hostile business climate has nurtured Google, Apple, Hewlett-Packard, Facebook, Twitter, Disney, Cisco, Intel, eBay, YouTube, MySpace, the Gap and countless other companies that drive the way we live.

Continue to read at Time . . .

A three-year-old’s view of the NYC subway (Kottke)

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

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[Editor's note: Jason Kottke's birthday present to his nephew is a subway-style kid's mental map of New York city. Thanks Melissa!]

Republished from Kottke.org.

This was my present to my nephew for his 3rd birthday. He loves, loves, loves the subway so my sister asked me if I could make a custom map with all the places that mean something to him on the poster.

Best viewed a bit large.

Prepping for NACIS, The World According to Ronald Reagan

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

I’m crazy busy prepping for NACIS, wrapping up Natural Earth, and catching up on life. That being the case, I’m taking a little blog vacation. I’ll pick up posting here on the 14th of October.

In the meantime, in honor of the NACIS conference’s Sacramento location, here’s a mental map of The World According to Ronald Reagan:

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Scents and the City or “I -smell- NY” (NY Times)

Monday, August 31st, 2009

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[Editor's note: Jason Logan contributes to the resurgent field of experiential cartography by recounting his travel, by smell, across the isle of Manhattan. The semi-interactive map published in the New York Times brings to life "smell stops" in each neighborhood both as one would experience them in the daytime and at night. The piece reminds me of the 1985 historical novel Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, lent to me in university by Judy Walton. I recently posted on Edible Landscape Maps and John has a post on psychogeography maps.]

Republished from the New York Times. August 29, 2009
By JASON LOGAN, an illustrator and the author of “If We Ever Break Up, This Is My Book.” Produced by Jon Huang and Snigdha Koirala.

New York secretes its fullest range of smells in the summer; disgusting or enticing, delicate or overpowering, they are liberated by the heat. So one sweltering weekend, I set out to navigate the city by nose. As my nostrils led me from Manhattan’s northernmost end to its southern tip, some prosaic scents recurred (cigarette butts; suntan lotion; fried foods); some were singular and sublime (a delicate trail of flowers mingling with Indian curry around 34th Street); while others proved revoltingly unique (the garbage outside a nail salon). Some smells reminded me of other places, and some will forever remind me of New York.

Interact with the original at New York Times . . .

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

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

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[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 . . .

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 . . .