Posts Tagged ‘natural earth’

Natural Earth Vector Preview: Cities

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

We’re closing in on having the cities for Natural Earth Vector complete. The final compilation has been made (focusing on a universal coverage based on regional importance, even if the town has less than typical population). Dick Furno has headed up this data theme and is half way thru applying 8 scale ranks to the cities. Population estimates will be added in a final step by another contributor. Screenshots show quick plots of the GIS data. Color implies ranking.

California (below):

california

Alaska-Yukon (below):

alaska-yukon

Europe Biggest Cities (below):

europeless

Europe All Cities:

europemore

Beijing-Tokyo biggest cities (below):

beijing-tokyo

Using Live Paint to Build Polygons Out of Line Segments in Adobe Illustrator (Kelso)

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

I remember spending hours in my introduction to computer cartography lab class at Humboldt State University “building polygons” in the Adobe Illustrator design software package. We started with state “lines” and, one by one, duplicated and joined them into polygons by painstakingly selecting matching endpoints and cursing the Illustrator error dialogs that kept coming up. Fast forward 5 software versions and 10 years and we can now accomplish the same workflow in seconds using the new “Live Paint” feature available in version CS2 and newer. Maybe this is old news, but it’s sure makes things easier on the Natural Earth Vector project!

Download native Illustrator CS3 file and follow along with sample linework.

Step 1: Start with lines for 1st order, country, and hydro coast, rivers on separate layers (like you’d normally layer your map file).

live_paint_step1

Step 2: Duplicate all related lines onto one “building” layer (the next step would group originals if you don’t do here).

live_paint_step2

Step 3: Select all those duplicated “building” lines (interior state boundaries, exterior country boundary, and exterior shorelines for that country, the more linework, the slower it goes), choose the live paint tool livepainticon and click on the selection. It will turn into a “live paint group”. If  you are viewing the bounding box, it will appear slightly differently than normal handles (see below).

live_paint_step3

Step 4: Make sure the toolbox fill is a color like yellow (the default is set to no fill, so you won’t get the tool to work unless you change it). Click and drag the live paint tool over all implied polygons between lines. Watch them turn into filled polys!!!! If you don’t get an implied polygon to fill, try adjusting the gap tolerance at Object > Live Paint > Gap Options. The default settings worked fine for me, though. Not shown here are the reddish thick highlight around target polygons as the Live Paint tool is dragged acros the artwork.

live_paint_step4

Step 5: Once you’re done and all your implied polygons are colored in like a coloring book, expand the live paint group (Object > Live Paint > Expand, or use the Expand button on the control panel button strip). Ungroup twice (Object > Ungroup). The polys, lines, and hydro will all be on the building layer. Use select by similar to select just the filled polys you just made and move them to the First_order_admin_polys layer. Delete the left over country and hydro lines (you have originals elsewhere).

live_paint_step5

Step 6: Color code new state polygons and compound path related admin units (none in this instance). That’s it!

live_paint_step6

Problems? Try this tutorial video from Layers magazine and, separately, from Mordy Golding.

PREVIEW Natural Earth Vector: First Order Admin Units

Monday, July 13th, 2009

We shipped off the 1:15,000,000 scale first-order administrative units for Natural Earth Vector to University of Wisconsin @ Madison to be attributed with country and province names and alpha-numeric codes last week. There are only 3,000+ of these around the world so this is no small task! Kudos go to Tom for doing the heavy lifting on this data theme. Props to Kevin and Ben @ UW-Madison for undertaking the attributing.

Some units are super tiny (see Slovenia in the Europe detail at bottom, almost equivalent in scale to municipalities in the USA). We ignore some small, mostly island nations (see the Caribbean image below) but will include a general admin_0 polygon for the entire country instead. First order administrative units are composed what most people call “provinces” and “states” (not to be confused with countries aka “states”). For some countries, we will also include 1st order admin “regions” that group smaller 1st order units into larger statistical areas (eg: the United Kingdom’s England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland).

If you have 10 to 20 hours to spare, we need your help to complete Natural Earth Vector. Please email me at nathaniel@kelsocartography.com to find out more.

admin_1_world

admin_1_africa

admin_1_asia_se1

admin_1_australasia1admin_1_central_america_caribbean1

admin_1_south_america1

admin_1_europe1

admin_1_europe_detail1

North Korea Issues Heated Warning to South (Wash Post)

Friday, July 10th, 2009

korea

[Editor's note: The Egypt-Sudan boundary post reminds me that North Korea says it will no longer respect the legal status of the five islands South Korea administers west of the South's mainland allocated during the 1953 armistice that halted the Korean War. So many small details.]

Republished from The Washington Post.
By Blaine Harden. Wednesday, May 27, 2009

TOKYO, May 27 — North Korea announced Wednesday that it is no longer bound by the 1953 armistice that halted the Korean War, the latest and most profound diplomatic aftershock from the country’s latest nuclear test two days earlier.

North Korea also warned that it would respond “with a powerful military strike” should its ships be stopped by international forces trying to stop the export of missiles and weapons of mass destruction.

The twin declarations, delivered by the country’s state news agency, followed South Korea’s announcement Tuesday that it would join the navies that will stop and inspect suspicious ships at sea. North Korea has repeatedly said that such participation would be a “declaration of war.”

They followed other developments in North Korea that have added to the sense of jangled nerves across northeast Asia since Monday’s underground nuclear test.

Continue reading at The Washington Post . . .

Greenland Gains Self-Government from the Kingdom of Denmark, Kinda (Economist)

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

2609ww2[Editor’s note: What is a country? A nation? A nation-state? By some counts, there are about 195 “countries” or 194 (US State Department) in the world, but by others like the ISO and United Nations, about 245 which includes extra “regions” for statistical reasons or FIPS code assignments. The World Bank (2) says 186 or 210. How can there be such a wide spectrum of valid answers? The issue is complicated by historic colonial relationships with overseas dependencies and affiliated political administrative units, and by the non-uniform way different “countries” sub-divide themselves.

For instance, France considers all it’s “dependencies” unitary parts of France, while the U.S. does not view it’s own territories equal to states vis-a-vis constitutional rights. But some unitary parts of France outside mainland Europe get treated differently from Metropolitan France by the European Union (they don’t necessarily get an E.U. passport).

This week, Greenland steps closer to becoming one of the club of 195 “countries” in the world, but really it’s just getting more quasi-self-government (sticking in the 245 bracket) within the Kingdom of Denmark’s administrative umbrella (which is and is not the same as the “country” of Denmark) for defense and foreign policy.

The higher number doesn’t even address sub-national semi-autonomous entities like the United Kingdom’s England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland which fall somewhere between what we in the U.S. think of as “states” and “provinces” (1st order admin units) and those top level countries and nations. Nor does it address disputed or break away regions like Abkhazia.

For Natural Earth Vector, we will include groupings at both “top-level” views (about 195 and 245), and at the 1st order admin (state, province, over 3,000). We will also include a sample of sub-national areas and disputed, breakaway areas.]

Republished from the Economist.

Two tonnes of rare whale meat were distributed in Greenland as part of celebrations to mark the start of an era of self-government. After nearly three centuries of rule by Denmark, Greenland’s 56,000 people will gradually take control of most domestic affairs, although defence and foreign policy remain in Danish hands. Greenlandic is now the official language. Photo by: Adam Roberts.

Continue reading related story, “Greenland’s future: Divorce up north?” from Nov. 27, 2008 . . .

Bounding Boxes for World Countries (Berkeley GADM)

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

[Editor's note: Knowing the longitude-latitude (latLng) bounding box of a feature gives us a clue as to what map scale or zoom level is required to fit the feature into our display area and thus what base map scale set to draw from. While this image does not provide actual coordinates, it visually establishes what such bounding boxes look like (further refinements can be had with respect to crossing the 180° meridian, note New Zealand). ]

Republished from Berkeley GADM (Global Administrative Areas).

Here is a map of all countries and their bounding boxes (when using a lat/long “projection”), highlighting those countries that cross the international date line, and for which these bounding boxes make little sense (this map is provided for diversion only).

insidethebox

First Look at Natural Earth Vector

Friday, June 12th, 2009

Tom Patterson and I collaborated on the precursor to his first Natural Earth Raster project several years ago and we now preview Natural Earth Raster + Vector, a new free product due Fall 2009 that complements and expands on the previous work by providing detailed GIS linework at the 1:15,000,000 (1:15 million) scale and new versions of the raster product (including cross-blended hyspometric tints). The Washington Post, where I work, is contributing 2 more vector GIS base maps at the 1:50m and 1:110m scales and new versions of Natural Earth Raster will be released for those scales. This is a NACIS and mapgiving co-branded product with assistance from the University of Wisconson-Madison cartography lab, Florida State University, and others.

Please attend the October NACIS 2009 map conference in Sacramento, California for the unveiling.

More description and preview images after the jump.

(more…)

ISO global road, rail shapefile (Kelso)

Monday, March 30th, 2009

I’m in search of a super generalized but comprehensive global coverage dataset or datasets that shows major highways and rail lines, even sea lanes. You can see an example of this on Plate 21 of the National Geographic 8th Edition Atlas of the World. Do you know of one? Please shoot me a note to nathaniel@kelsocartography.com or comment here if you have a tip.

Why do I want such? I am working with Tom Patterson (of Natural Earth fame) and Dick Furno (retired from The Washington Post) to release a comprehensive, attributed GIS base map dataset derived in part from the Natural Earth physical wall map at around 1:15,000,000 scale and two other consistent and self referential datasets at approx. scales of 1:50m and 1:110m. These datasets will provide coverage that perfectly registers with the modern satellite remote sensing imagery and SRTM derived topography. Yes there is 1:1m coverage around the world but it is often out of date and too detailed for doing global, continental, and regional mapping.

We hope these open source datasets will allow everyone in the cartographic community to focus on telling the best “why” and “how” visual story about their thematic data instead of spending 50 to 70% of project time looking for or creating the vector geometry that captures the basic “where” of their thematic data.

Release is expected Fall 2009 at the NACIS map conference in Sacramento. Please check back in this space for more details as they develop.

Announcing IndieMapper (Axis Maps)

Tuesday, March 17th, 2009

[Editor’s note: The same folks at Axis Maps who brought us Finder! and Maker! from GeoCommons (blog post) announce IndieMapper, a new tool for cartographers by cartographers to make awesome maps. When released (summer 2009?), this online, Flash-based solution will fill a nitch between full bore GIS systems and manual compilation in Illustrator. I hope they’ll add an “embed this map” option for people who want to publish their maps straight to the web for their 2.0 release. Screenshots below.]

Republished from the Axis Maps IndieMapper blog.
Add yourself to their email list to get the 411 on the first release.

Note: David Heyman of Axis Maps was at SXSW Interactive 2009 this weekend in the NeoCartography: Mapping Design and Usability Evolved session.

Welcome to indiemapper.com! We’re very excited that you’ve taken the time to learn about our project. Put your email address in the subscription box below so we can tell you about indiemapper developments and most importantly… the launch!

A little about indiemapper:

  1. It’s big. We’re not satisfied with the current tools available for making maps. They’re too expensive and their cartographic functionality doesn’t always give us everything we need. We’re building indiemapper to replace those tools. It takes in shapefiles and spits out a vector file to Illustrator, just like GIS. It supports multiple projections, just like GIS. Labeling, map layout, data classification, just like GIS. If you need it to make a map, it’s in there.
  2. It’s focused. The problem with the existing tools for making maps is that they aren’t designed exclusively for making maps. You’re only using about 10% of the software to make your map (but paying for all 100%). We built indiemapper for only one purpose: making maps.
  3. It’s visual. If I want to reclassify my data, why do I need to go into the map properties dialog box, select the symbology tab, click on the data classification button that opens up a new window, move the tabs around in that new window, click OK in the new window, click OK in the first window I opened and then wait for my map to redraw to see if the classification looks good? With indiemapper, every update is live and every control is easily accessible. No more hunting. No more waiting.
  4. It’s online. Updates are available as soon as they’re released. No more waiting for service packs or paying for upgrades. And Mac users: Get ready… we are 100% platform independent. Use it on a Mac, use it on Windows, even try out Linux (you might like it!)

I could go on and on, and I will, right here on this blog. Check back here for a discussion on functionality, coding, design, cartography, all things indiemapper. We’ll be releasing some free tools along the way that we’ll want to tell you about too. Most importantly, we want your feedback so let us have it!

Top features:
  • Fast, visual editing.
  • Nothing more than 2 clicks away.
  • Rolling release with constant updates.
  • Choropleth mapping.
  • Dot density mapping.
  • Proportional symbol mapping.
  • Cartograms.
  • Unlimited undos.
  • Colors from ColorBrewer.
  • Type from TypeBrewer.
  • Basemaps from Natural Earth.
  • Map layout for print and screen.
  • Load data from shapefile and KML formats.
  • Export to vector SVG.
  • Export to JPG.
Screenshots:
PROJECTIONS:
  • Visual selection process
  • Re-project vector data on-the-fly
  • Filter by projections that preserve area / shape / direction
  • Learn more about projection best practices
  • Create custom standard lines / centering
DATA LAYERS:
  • Manage multiple thematic data layers
  • Create new layers on-the-fly from attributes of existing datasets
  • Control editability / visibility
  • Instantly access style / label options for each data layer
CHOROPLETH MAPS
  • Create both classed and unclassed choropleth maps
  • Select from built-in automatic classification routines or set your own breaks
  • Visually set manual class breaks using interactive live-updating histogram
  • Automatically select built-in ColorBrewer color ramps
  • Create your own custom color ramps
  • Every change is updated on the map instantly

Data: ESA Global Land Cover Map Available Online (ESA)

Sunday, January 11th, 2009

ESA’s global land cover map

[Editor’s note: Updated 300 meter resolution global landcover raster provides crisper, better validated snapshot. Available in GeoTIFF format as 1 file or regional (continental-level) compressed files. Thanks Martin!]

Republished from European Space Agency. 
Original post date: 19 December 2008.

View legend. Image previews of the world map (hi-res jpg | tiff). 

ESA’s global land cover map, which is ten times sharper than any previous global satellite map, is now available to the public online from the GlobCover website. It is the highest resolution land cover map that has been completely validated ever released. 

Sixteen experts validated the map using more than 3,000 reference land cover points and showed it had an overall accuracy of 73% weighted by area for its 22 land cover classes. The map’s legend was developed using the United Nation Food and Agriculture Organisation’s (FAO) Land Cover Classification System (LCCS). 

GlobCover legend
  GlobCover legend

The map was generated using 19 months worth of data from Envisat’s Medium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) instrument working in Full Resolution Mode to provide a spatial resolution of 300 m. Data were collected between December 2004 and June 2006.A consortium of specialists worked to process the map, including Medias France, Germany’s Brockmann Consult and Belgium’s Université catholique de Louvain. 

Global validation points
Global validation points
 

These data are useful for many applications, including modelling climate change extent and impacts, conserving biodiversity and managing natural resources. The map has been downloaded by more than 4 000 people since October 2008. 

The GlobCover project is part of ESA’s Earth Observation Data User Element (DUE). An international network of partners has worked with ESA on the project, including the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), FAO, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Environmental Agency (EEA), the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP) and the Global Observations of Forest Cover and Global Observations of Land Dynamics (GOFC-GOLD) Implementation Team Project Office.

The GlobCover LC version 2 is available to public through the following ftp server: 
ftp://uranus.esrin.esa.int/pub/globcover_v2/

On the FTP you will find: 
1) The LandCover V2 in greyscale geotiff 
2) The QL – Quality file geotiff 
3) The legend in xls file 
4) The latest Product Description Manual PDM_I2.1

The GlobCover Land Cover product is the highest resolution (300 meters) Global Land Cover product ever produced and independently validated.  The GlobCover Land Cover product is based on ENVISAT MERIS data at full resolution from December 2004 to June 2006.  The GlobCover Land Cover product has been developed in partnership with EEA, FAO, GOFC-GOLD, IGBP, JRC and UNEP.  The GlobCover Land Cover product is labelled according to the UN Land Cover Classification System.

When using the GlobCover Land Cover product acknowledgment shall be as follow: 

Source data: © ESA / ESA GlobCover Project, led by MEDIAS-France 
Image: © ESA / ESA GlobCover Project, led by MEDIAS-France