Posts Tagged ‘nev’

Natural Earth version 1.3 released

Monday, January 31st, 2011

When Natural Earth relaunched in December 2009 with updated raster and new vector data our aim was two fold: First, to give cartographers an off-the-shelf solution for creating small-scale world, regional and country maps from scratch. Second, we included a wealth of features both large and small in hopes of improving the overall geographic literacy of map readers. Since then, we’ve taken Natural Earth on an around-the-world road show and January 2011 saw our 150,000th direct download and 500,000th pageview. We even made it into Wikipedia, were featured in PrettyMaps, and power some of the goodness behind Google Fusion Tables. With today’s 1.3 release, we add a couple newly independent countries, better delineate the world’s states and provinces, and make a whole host of corrections and additions to the original dataset, detailed below. Please continue to use these fine map ingredients to make great web and print geo mashups. Bon appetit.

Nathaniel Vaughn Kelso and Tom Patterson

Continue reading and download the updated files at NaturalEarthData.com »

    Review of Essential Geography of the United States of America wall map

    Friday, August 27th, 2010

    screen-shot-2010-08-26-at-120625-am

    Will print maps survive Google Maps and the iPad? If Dave Imus’s new Essential Geography of the U.S. is any indication, the answer is a resounding yes!

    Wall maps are large, physical artifacts that evoke our love of place. Indeed, they are the trophy mounts of the mapping world. They offer fond remembrance of the thrill of adventure, help dream up new trips, and effect a sirens call over friends and family with their proud display of  geography. Custom cartography reminds us place is not the sum of a street network but a overlay of cultural story and physiographic pattern. As OpenStreetMap, NavTeq, TeleAtlas, and the like duke it out in the PND and 1:10,000 scale road-map-as-a-service space, this map shows our discipline at it’s best.

    Now for the specs. This beautiful wall map is drawn at 1:4 million scale (36″ tall by 48″ wide, ~65 miles to the inch). That’s twice the detail you get from Natural Earth’s raw GIS data. I was sent a preliminary copy for review and several attentions to detail catch my eye:

    • Major airports are located and labeled with their 3-character code (SFO, LAX, LGA, etc).
    • Attractions are listed for most metropolitan cities (Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars, fisherman’s warf in San Francisco).
    • A compilation of small, mid, and large size cities nestle between named mountain ridges, settle the green forests, and line the coast. Some even have their elevation noted (“mile high” Denver at 5280 feet).
    • This human geography is connected by a road network with shields indicating relative lane widths, but still showing small rural routes when they are the only access thru town.
    • National parks and other sites are outlined and named.

    The map is fittingly dedicated to William Loy, long time geography professor and coauthor of the award winning Atlas of Oregon (University of Oregon Press, 2001) who passed over in 2003. The map goes on sale this fall, perfect for the gifting season. Available soon at Imus Geographics »

    Here’s another preview:

    screen-shot-2010-08-27-at-102446-pm

    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

    Socotra, South Sudan, and the Netherlands Antilles (Economist)

    Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

    [Editor's note: Grab bag of Natural Earth admin-2 and admin-0 map units in last week's Economist magazine.]

    Republished from the Economist.

    Socotra: A still-enchanted island
    Will Yemen’s magical island manage to stay aloof?

    MAROONED in pirate-infested waters off the Horn of Africa but tied to unruly Yemen 400km (250 miles) away, the archipelago of Socotra has a forbidding look. Scorching summer winds strand ships. So fierce is the constant gale that it has whipped beachfuls of blinding white sand into dunes hundreds of metres high that ride up the cliffs. Even in winter it is blisteringly hot. Rats, the sole occupants of one rocky islet, are so ravenous that seasonal fishermen sleep in their skiffs, afraid to languish ashore.

    Yet Socotra, whose main island is the size of Majorca or Long Island, is one of the world’s last enchanted places. The 50,000 native Socotris, speaking four dialects of a singsong ancient language unintelligible to other Yemenis, subsist on fish, goats and not much else. But they inhabit a wildly varied landscape of surreal beauty. The sea teems with giant lobsters, turtles and leaping dolphins. A unique breed of civet cat roams the limestone plateaus that are seamed with gorges carved by rushing streams, and spiked by finger-like granite towers rising to 1,500 metres. The cats are just one among 700 native species of plants and animals found nowhere else on earth.

    Continue reading at the Economist . . .

    South Sudan’s biggest ethnic group: On your tractor, if you can
    The Dinka will decide whether Africa’s latest state-in-waiting fails or prospers

    THE Anglican Bishop of Bor, Nathaniel Garang, sits under the little shade afforded by a thorn tree. His dusty compound has a few mud and straw huts, some plastic chairs, and goats reaching up to bare branches on their hind legs. The bishop is around 70, he guesses, and in reflective mood. He wears a small brass cross given to him by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Entering Canterbury cathedral, he remarks, was a special moment in his life.

    Mr Garang is a Dinka, the largest of south Sudan’s tribes. Specifically, he is a Bor Dinka (see map), the first of the Dinka groups to become Christian and be educated. Their historic missionary post, founded just upriver on the Nile in 1905, was burnt down during Sudan’s long civil war between the Arab and Muslim north and the Christian and animist south that ended only five years ago. The cathedral in Bor was also shot up, but still attracts several thousand worshippers.

    Continue reading at the Economist . . .

    The Netherlands Antilles: The joy of six
    Curaçao savours the prospect of autonomy

    AS independence struggles go, the process of dismantling the federation of the Netherlands Antilles is about as orderly and peaceful as it gets. On 10-10-10 (October 10th 2010) Curaçao, St Maarten, Bonaire, Saba and St Eustatius will go their separate ways—but only up to a point. Curaçao and St Maarten will become self-governing territories, following the example of Aruba, a sixth Dutch-speaking island in the Caribbean which broke away in 1986. But all will remain under the Dutch crown. The tiniest three islands—Saba, Bonaire and St Eustatius—will become overseas municipalities, with a similar status to towns in the Netherlands.

    The attractions of autonomy are obvious in Curaçao (population: 142,000), the most populous island. It will take over government assets such as a large oil refinery and one of the Caribbean’s biggest dry docks, both in Willemstad, the capital, and the taxes from thriving tourist and offshore-banking industries. Generously, the Dutch will pay off 70% of the federation’s $3.3 billion debt. Local leaders have ambitious plans to develop new port facilities and hotels, and to modernise the dry dock.

    Continue reading at the Economist . . .

    Preview of Natural Earth version 1.2 populated places

    Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

    Version 1.1 brought Natural Earth up to ~7,000 populated places (purple hollow circle icons with labels). Version 1.2 will increase that by 25 times to about 175,000 populated places. It will be available as a supplement to the 1.1 version selection. What does this get you? A 1:1 million scale map of cities around the world and a 1:250,000 scale map of the United States and other select countries. There’s still basic selection work to be accomplished (Santiago Chile has duplicate points now, as does London) and scale ranks need refining (boosting blue 10 million, 5 million and 2 million selections from the 1:1 million black dots on these preview maps).

    Because the world’s geo infrastructure sucks, not all the new features will have population counts in the 1.2 version. But most should have areal extent bounds and nesting to indicate if the town is part of a larger metro area. At the 1:250,000 scale (gmaps zoom 11), we start to see actual incorporated towns and unincorporated suburbs, but at the 1:1m scale we’re still dealing primarily in metropolitan and micropolitan features (urban areas that host multiple “cities”).

    The names of the feature will also need work, but that will occur after the 1.2 release (India, China, and Central Asia mostly). The version 1.1 locations will be shifted over to use the more accurate geoNames lngLats for about 6,000 features (note Oakland below). Locations were fine at 1:10,000,000 scale but don’t always hold up on zoom in. A later update will incorporate an additional 100,000 places to flesh out the 1:1m scale and maybe a few extra for closer in. Combine these populated places with roads and they start looking like atlas plates :)

    More preview images after the jump.

    sfbayarea

    haiti

    iraq

    More preview maps after the jump.

    (more…)

    Name Change in Pakistan, North-West Frontier Prov. No More (Wash Post)

    Friday, April 9th, 2010

    [Editor's note: The NWFP colonial-era name in Pakistan has been discarded with this week's constitutional reforms in favor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The new name reflects the dominant ethnic group and strategic Khyber pass. Changing Up Pakistan has a good backgrounder. Time to update Natural Earth's 1st order admin!]

    Republished from The Washington Post.
    By Griff Witte Thursday, April 8, 2010; 1:26 PM

    ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s National Assembly on Thursday passed sweeping constitutional reforms that sharply curtail the president’s power and have at least the potential to stabilize the nation’s habitually turbulent political system.

    The changes wipe away a host of measures introduced by military dictators in recent decades that had eroded the power of parliament and centralized authority in the hands of the president. Under the reforms, Pakistan’s prime minister and its provincial governments are expected to have greater latitude in running the country, which has become a central battleground for the United States in the fight against religious extremist groups. [...]

    One of the most contentious elements of the reform package will give a new name to the North-West Frontier Province, which has been at the center of militancy in Pakistan in recent years. The old name — a relic of colonial times — was despised by many Pashtuns, who thought it did not reflect their status as the province’s dominant ethnic group. The new name, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, is intended to solve that problem, but it has sparked demonstrations in recent days by the area’s ethnic minorities, who say it makes them feel unwelcome in their home province.

    Read the full article at The Washington Post . . .

    Natural Earth 1.1 update + 1.2 preview

    Friday, March 26th, 2010

    The 60+ individual themes that received edits in the 1.1 update of Natural Earth are now available for ala cart downloading on the NaturalEarthData.com site. The 110m country boundary lines theme is now available in 1.1 (somehow it was left out of the original release). The combo 110m-cultural download has been updated to include that missing file. In case you’re wondering, there is no 50m country boundary lines update, even though the 50m admin-0 polygons were updated as their boundaries did not change, only the attribute tables were updated to version 1.1.

    Jill finished editing ~1,900 or half of the 10m admin-1 polygon data attributes for name and thematic codes for the larger, more populous countries. We’ll start merging that with the new, topologically valid linework in April.

    Tom got a cache of old hand drawn relief and is busy nudging it in Photoshop to align to Natural Earth drains.

    Preston finished adding tapers to the North America drains. Those will go live on the site in early April and will quadruple (4x) the amount of hydrological data there. We’re about 50% done with Europe.

    If you have a few hours to help out, please drop me a line at nathaniel@kelsocartography.com.

    On Guam, planned Marine base raises anger, infrastructure concerns (Wash Post)

    Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010

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    [Editor's note: Map shows location of Guam in the Pacific Ocean on a globe, by one of my colleagues at The Washington Post. Guam is it's own "country" but under United States sovereignty. Things can get complicated, as the story explains.]

    Republished from The Washington Post.
    By Blaine Harden. Monday, March 22, 2010

    HAGATNA, GUAM — This remote Pacific island is home to U.S. citizens who are fervent supporters of the military, as measured by their record of fighting and dying in America’s recent wars.

    But they are angry about a major military buildup here, which the government of Guam and many residents say is being grossly underfunded. They fear that the construction of a new Marine Corps base will overwhelm the island’s already inadequate water and sewage systems, as well as its port, power grid, hospital, highways and social services.

    “Our nation knows how to find us when it comes to war and fighting for war,” said Michael W. Cruz, lieutenant governor of Guam and an Army National Guard colonel who recently returned from a four-month tour as a surgeon in Afghanistan. “But when it comes to war preparations — which is what the military buildup essentially is — nobody seems to know where Guam is.”

    Continue reading at The Washington Post . . .

    China’s territorial claims (Economist)

    Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

    [Editor's note: Animated and narrated map provides good summary the China's boundary disputes with it's neighbors. Check out Natural Earth, free GIS world map data where you will find all the mentioned areas.]

    Republished from the Economist.

    Suspicions between China and its neighbours bedevil its boundaries to the east, south and west.

    Watch video China’s territorial claims »

    screen-shot-2010-03-14-at-44250-pm

    Added Twitter feed, Natural Earth promo to blog

    Monday, March 15th, 2010

    My live twitter feed has been added in the top right column. I’ll experiment with publishing a daily digest as a regular blog post, will revise based on feedback.

    I’ve also added a Natural Earth download promo in the site header. Natural Earth is a public domain map dataset available at 1:10m, 1:50m, and 1:110m scales. Featuring tightly integrated vector and raster data, with Natural Earth you can make a variety of visually pleasing, well-crafted maps with cartography or GIS software. I hope this gives the dataset more exposure, especially with sideways traffic. Please share the site with your social networks :)