Posts Tagged ‘pakistan’

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 . . .

Obama’s apparent low-key approach to Kashmir disappoints some in disputed region (Wash Post)

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

gr2009122903635

[Editor's note: The map uses Natural Earth vector and raster imagery to parse the mixed administration and claims in the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir.]

Republished from The Washington Post.
By Emily Wax. Wednesday, December 30, 2009

SRINAGAR, INDIAN-ADMINISTERED KASHMIR — Every day, Irfan Ansari sorts through dozens of résumés from young Kashmiris seeking jobs at his call center, seen by many here as a haven from the turmoil caused by militant Islamist forces seeking to uproot the government of Indian-administered Kashmir.

“Many young Kashmiris today just want a good life,” said Ansari, who has 300 employees. “I have more than 10,000 résumés on my desk. I wish I could hire them all.”

A new generation of Kashmiris is weary of five decades of tensions over the future of this Himalayan region, which has been a flash point for India and Pakistan, both nuclear powers that claim Kashmir as their own.

But Kashmiris have been caught in the diplomatic dilemma facing the Obama administration as it tries to persuade Pakistan to take on a stronger role fighting Islamist extremists and simultaneously seeks to improve relations with India, Pakistan’s arch foe.

Many Kashmiris celebrated when President Obama took office nearly a year ago, because he seemed to favor a more robust approach to bring stability to Kashmir, where human rights groups estimate that as many as 100,000 people have died in violence and dozens of Pakistan-backed militant groups have sprung up. At one point, the Obama administration contemplated appointing former president Bill Clinton as a special envoy to the region.

Continue reading at The Washington Post . . .

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 . . .

Obama’s War (Wash Post)

Friday, February 20th, 2009

[Editor's note: This full page graphic by Gene Thorp delves into the mire that Afghanistan may become for President Obama. Great mapping and visual story telling with photo and charting elements.]

Republished from The Washington Post.
Originally published Sunday 15 February 2009 in the Outlook section.
Graphic by Gene Thorp and Patterson Clark.

Iraq was George W. Bush’s war, but the conflict that now embroils both Afghanistan and Pakistan is likely to become Barack Obama’s — a war to which he may commit 30,000 more U.S. troops. Will the incoming soldiers be sucked into the “graveyard of empires,” as the British and Soviets were before them? Or could Obama’s war eventually bring peace and stability to the region? Here are some of the most important trends that will help determine the answer.

Graphic content by Peter Bergen, author of “The Osama bin Laden I Know” and senior fellow at the New America Foundation, and Katherine Tiedemann, New America Foundation program associate

View hi-res PDF of the graphic. Screenshot below.
Click screenshot for higher resolution image.

RELATED ARTICLE
Going the Distance: The war in Afghanistan isn’t doomed. We just need to rethink the insurgency.

By Seth G. Jones Sunday, February 15, 2009; Page B01

On the outskirts of Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital, lies the Kabre Ghora graveyard. It is believed to contain the graves of 158 British soldiers, diplomats and their families who died in the city during the Anglo-Afghan wars of 1839-1842 and 1879-1880. The name comes from the term Afghans use to describe British soldiers: “Ghora.”

The original British gravestones have disappeared except for the remnants of 10, which have been preserved and relocated to a spot against the cemetery’s southern wall. I have been to Kabre Ghora several times, but on my most recent visit, I noticed something new — a memorial honoring soldiers from the United States, Canada and Europe who have died in Afghanistan since 2001.

Afghanistan has a reputation as a graveyard of empires, based as much on lore as on reality. This reputation has contributed to a growing pessimism that U.S. and NATO forces will fare no better there than did the Soviet and British armies, or even their predecessors reaching back to Alexander the Great. The gloom was only stoked by last week’s brazen suicide attacks in Kabul on the eve of a visit by Richard Holbrooke, President Obama’s special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan.

But it would be irresponsible to concede defeat. Yes, the situation is serious, but it’s far from doomed. We can still turn things around if we strive for a better understanding of the Afghan insurgency and work to exploit its many weaknesses.

(more…)

Is Color Always Better? Maybe Not (Kelso)

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

[Editor's note: This beautiful example of strong graphic story telling printed grayscale in The Washington Post on January 12, 2009. The strong contrasts in tones of black ink were very successful. Sometimes we rush to colorize graphics unnecessarily. Just because we can, doesn't mean we must. This is a follow-up to my earlier post last year. I quote from there:

"Color graphics can fall into the trap of treating every category as equal. Doing so can create graphics without any focus or visual contrast. Often one category is more important than the other. Or colors used to symbolize nominal or ratio choropleth categories are so close together they are indistinguishable and create little or no visual appeal. There are also legibility problems associated with impaired color vision."

In the color version (below) that was converted for the web, color-blind compatible blue, orange, and red hues, but I think this and many other grayscale graphics that already exhibit strong figure-ground contrast could stay grayscale when posted on the web.]

Republished from The Washington Post Monday January 12, 2009 (A01).

Bush Econ: A Legacy of Little Growth (view original).

How growth in jobs, in gross domestic product and in disposable income have fared during the Bush administration and those of his 10 most recent predecessors.

By Brenna Maloney and Todd Lindeman – The Washington Post – January 12, 2009

Color version:

Related article: By Neil Irwin and Dan Eggen
Economy Made Few Gains in Bush Years, Eight-Year Period Is Weakest in Decades

President Bush has presided over the weakest eight-year span for the U.S. economy in decades, according to an analysis of key data, and economists across the ideological spectrum increasingly view his two terms as a time of little progress on the nation’s thorniest fiscal challenges.

The number of jobs in the nation increased by about 2 percent during Bush’s tenure, the most tepid growth over any eight-year span since data collection began seven decades ago. Gross domestic product, a broad measure of economic output, grew at the slowest pace for a period of that length since the Truman administration. And Americans’ incomes grew more slowly than in any presidency since the 1960s, other than that of Bush’s father.

Bush and his aides are quick to point out that they oversaw 52 straight months of job growth in the middle of this decade, and that the economy expanded at a steady clip from 2003 to 2007. But economists, including some former advisers to Bush, say it increasingly looks as if the nation’s economic expansion was driven to a large degree by the interrelated booms in the housing market, consumer spending and financial markets. Those booms, which the Bush administration encouraged with the idea of an “ownership society,” have proved unsustainable.

“The expansion was a continuation of the way the U.S. has grown for too long, which was a consumer-led expansion that was heavily concentrated in housing,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a onetime Bush White House staffer and one of Sen. John McCain‘s top economic advisers for his presidential campaign. “There was very little of the kind of saving and export-led growth that would be more sustainable.”

“For a group that claims it wants to be judged by history, there is no evidence on the economic policy front that that was the view,” Holtz-Eakin said. “It was all Band-Aids.”

Continue reading at The Washington Post . . .

Don’t Assume North is Up! (Kelso)

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

When the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad was destroyed (read more) with a car bomb on my Saturday work shift (Sept. 20, 2008), killing dozens, I had to scramble to find source material locating the hotel in the downtown government district.

Problem was, none of the maps I found matched what I was seeing in Google Maps satellite view! It turns out Pakistani cartographers have a convention to rotate the orientation of these map so their capital’s streets are horizontal and vertical rather than at ~30° off north. This might maximize scale to the printable area, but most of the maps didn’t even have a north arrow!

The BBC had a custom map up before The Washington Post, but at least ours is “north up”.

The Washington Post:

BBC:

Google Maps Satellite view:

Is Color Always Better?

Monday, January 7th, 2008

pak ethnic breakdown legendIn my final year of university I started clipping maps from the San Francisco Chronicle. I was fascinated with how these mostly black-and-white graphics used effective figure-ground contrast “against the rules” to focus reader attention on the most important content. The darkest element on the map was often not the most important.

Instead, these maps “highlight” important content by “shading” the focus country white. Surrounding countries were light gray and water a darker gray. The only pure “black” elements in these graphics were nouns: the text labeling feature names. By virtue of being white, the focus country allowed for black labels placed within to “pop”.

(more…)