Posts Tagged ‘placenames’

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

Captain Hudson’s journey: Fair to foul and back again (Economist)

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

2709us5[Editor’s note: The Economist notes the 400th anniversary of the Netherlands’ discovery of the Hudson River, which passes thru New York City, once New Amsterdam. To celebrate, the city moved the annual 4th of July fireworks display to west of Manhattan island.]

Republished from the Economist.
July 2nd 2009 | NEW YORK. Image by Corbis.

The Hudson River, 400 years on

AS AMERICA celebrates its birthday on July 4th, New York is celebrating the discovery of its Hudson river. The Dutch East India Company hired Henry Hudson, an English explorer, to find a north-west passage to Asia. He failed: the route defied all explorers until Roald Amundsen in 1906. But Hudson’s journey of 1609 up the river that would later bear his name led to a valuable trade in furs and eventually to settlement by the Dutch. His shipmate recorded abundant fish and that the surrounding lands “were as pleasant with Grasse and Flowers, and goodly Trees, as euer they had seene, and very sweet smells came from them.” The smells unfortunately, have not always been so sweet.

The Hudson has been exploited and abused. Factories used the river as a dumping-ground. At one time a 20-mile stretch of the Hudson had little or no aquatic life. “You could tell what colour the GM plant in Sleepy Hollow was painting its cars by the colour of the water,” recalls Alex Matthiessen, president of Riverkeeper, an environmental watchdog. Since the 1960s, groups like Riverkeeper and advocates such as Pete Seeger, a folk singer, have fought to restore the river’s ecosystem. The 1972 Clean Water Act helped deter polluters. And in 1984 the federal Environmental Protection Agency classified 200 miles of the river as a Superfund site, eligible for special attention. As a result of all this the river has begun to look like its old self. Water quality has improved. Some fish populations look healthier. The Bald Eagle once again nests nearby.

There are still concerns. Indian Point, a nuclear power plant in Westchester, uses up to 2.5 billion gallons (9.5 billion litres) of river water a day. The water is then discharged back into the Hudson. According to Riverkeeper, the hotter discharged water kills large numbers of fish, larvae and eggs. Indian Point says there have been no temperature-related deaths. There is also considerable contamination by PCBs, toxic chemicals with carcinogenic effects. After years of delays General Electric has now begun a process of dredging to clean up the contaminants. But it was already safe to swim with the fishes, except after heavy rain. Antiquated sewage systems in New York City and in towns and cities further up river cannot handle storm surges.

The Netherlands still retains an interest in its former New Amsterdam. The country is America’s fourth largest investor. It is participating in many of the festivities, including a big flotilla last month. New York’s July 4th fireworks display is taking place on the Hudson. In September a replica of Hudson’s ship, the Half Moon, will re-enact the captain’s journey. But he wasn’t the first to discover the river, of course. Native tribes lived along the “Mahicantuck” for thousands of years.

Humboldt’s Gift (Economist)

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

greenview[Editor’s note: My alma mater and home county in California (others) are named after the famous German naturalist, apt for a school with strong Geography program.]

Republished from the Economist.

Alexander von Humboldt pioneered the science now used to study climate change

AMID this year’s flurry of scientific jubilees, one seems to have passed largely unnoticed. On May 6th admirers celebrated the 150th anniversary of the death of Alexander von Humboldt, a Prussian naturalist and geographer. He may no longer be as famous as some of his contemporaries, yet Humboldt’s work sheds a clear light on the great challenges the world faces today from climate change.

Humboldt cut a remarkable figure. He traveled widely, making scientific notes of his many geographical, zoological and botanical discoveries, and formulating theories to explain the relationships he observed. Humboldt noticed, for example, that volcanoes form in chains and speculated that these might coincide with subterranean fissures, more than a century before plate tectonics became widely accepted. Broadly educated, cosmopolitan and a polyglot, he championed the study of how living things were related to their physical surroundings. Charles Darwin described him as “the greatest traveling scientist who ever lived” and later added, “I have always admired him; now I worship him.”

Continue reading at the Economist . . .

Tag Cloud Map as Interface (Net-Listings)

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

maphelp

[Editor's note: This real estate pricing guide for London uses a tag cloud map as the main interface. Instead of showing a detailed street map or an alphabetical placename list, they use a geographic tag cloud map. Tags are not sized to price. Rather they is color coded for price. Placement of the labels matches their geographic location (roughly speaking). Like many subway maps, the River Thames provides overall orientation.]

Republished from Net-Listings. 

Finding property, flats or houses for sale or to rent in London

 

Simply click on any area of the map and watch the screen reveal information about that area, price guide for area and links to local Estate Agents.

The new page will show you links to Letting and Estate agents in that area of London, a brief description of that area and a rough guide to rents for typical accommodation. You can also use our “Let All Agents Know I am looking” to assist you find a suitable Estate Agent and Property. The price guide can help you decide an suitable areas based on the rental price of a flat or house in London, England.

More Screenshots:

netlistingstagcloudpricinglocal

netlistingstagcloudmapall

netlistingstagcloudmapregion1

netlistingstagcloudsearchalist

netlistingstagcloudsearchamap

Map Reveals the Secrets Behind Place Names (Der Spiegel)

Thursday, December 4th, 2008

[Editor’s note: Got topophilia? If you, too, are in love with placenames and their deeper meanings, this pair of maps from Kalimedia is for you. Thanks Lynda!]

Republished from Der Spiegel. By Charles Hawley on Nov. 20, 2008.

If you’ve got a date in New York, she’ll be waiting in New Wild Boar City, according to a new etymological map of the world.

It is difficult to find anyone these days who is not familiar with Middle Earth, J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantastical world of orcs, hobbits and dwarves. A whole generation of film-goers is familiar with such place names like “Dead Marshes” and “Mount Doom.”

But this peculiar nomenclature isn’t unique to Middle Earth. In fact, such names are everywhere. In France, for example, youl’ll find the City of Boatmen. The Caucasus plays host to the Land of the Fire Keepers. And who hasn’t dreamed of vacationing in the Land of Calves? But to get to these places, you’ll need a new map, which should be hitting bookstores in the Great Land of the Tattooed — Great Britain — by the end of the month.

PHOTO GALLERY: AN ETYMOLOGIST’S VIEW OF THE WORLD


Click on a picture to launch the image gallery (6 Photos)

Called the “Atlas of True Names,” the new map traces the etymological roots of European and global place names and then translates them into English. The “City of Boatmen” is also known as Paris. Should you travel to the Land of the Fire Keepers, you’d find yourself in Azerbaijan. And Italy comes from the Latin word vitulus, which means “calf.”

“We wanted to let the Earth tells its own story,” Stephan Hormes, who produced the maps together with his wife Silke Peust, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. “The names give you an insight into what the people saw when they first looked at a place, almost with the eyes of children. Through the maps, we wanted to show what they saw.”

Where Rough Grass Grows

Hormes and Peust, both cartographers, call their mini-company Kalimedia, and got their start last summer with German language versions of three maps — one of Germany, one of Europe and one of the world. Their product sold well, encouraging them to put out the two fold-out English maps now available. The first shipment is currently on the way to a distributor in the UK. A Spanish version and a French version are in the works.

Peust and Hormes did much of their etymological research by plowing through stodgy reference works and endless Web sites related to the origins of place names. “It is very interesting to read what people have found out,” Hormes says, “but you have to keep flipping the pages. I am a cartographer and it’s my job to put as much information as possible in a single image.”

The result looks exactly like what one has come to expect from a map — except that it’s not always easy to know what one is looking at. That dot on the East Coast of the US looks like it should be New York, but it’s labelled “New Wild Boar Village.” (York, in England, derives from the Old English eofor for wild boar and the Latin vicus, for village.) Up the coast into Canada, one finds “Remote Corner Where Rough Grass Grows” in place of Halifax. To keep map readers from thorough confusion, there is an index on the back with all place names, both current and etymological.

Hormes admits that the inspiration for the maps really does come from a childhood obsession with “The Lord of the Rings.” “The names (in Middle Earth) are so clear that every kid understands them,” he says, but once he and his wife began their research, “it became a trip through peoples and language.”

But Tolkien fans won’t be disappointed with the new maps. The Mediterranean, for example, is hard to miss in the “Atlas of True Names.” It’s called the Sea of the Middle Earth.

RELATED SPIEGEL ONLINE LINKS
Photo Gallery: An Etymologist’s View of the World

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
Kalimedia — Atlas of True Names

Paula Scher: Maps as Tag Clouds?!

Sunday, June 29th, 2008

paula scher europe

paula scher europe detail

Paula Scher has produced a series of nifty map art that focuses more on placenames than their locational placement. The placenames are in correct “relative” space but not absolute space. The names all run together in a placename tapestry where they swirl in colorful waves and eddies. Thanks Curt!

From the Maya Stendhal Gallery press release:

Maya Stendhal Gallery is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of renowned artist and graphic designer Paula Scher, which runs from November 8, 2007 through January 26, 2008. Scher expands on her highly acclaimed Maps series to create her most engaging work yet, depicting entire continents, countries and cities from all over the world that have been the critical focus of attention in recent headlines.

Through an acute understanding of the powerful relationship between type and image, Scher harmonizes witty with tragic, the methodical with the intuitive, and the personal with the universal in these new paintings. Dynamic images are saturated with layers of elaborate line, explosions of words, and bright colors creating a plethora of visual information that produces an emotive response to places lived, visited, and imagined. Scher’s maps also reflect the abundance of information that inundates us daily through newspapers, radio, television, and the Internet to reveal the fact that much of what we hear and read is strewn with inaccuracy, distorted facts, and subjectivity.

On view will be Tsunami (2006) depicting the area that was ravaged by the destructive natural force on December 26, 2004. Evoking memories of compassion and grief, the image is covered by a swirling vortex of words denoting towns, cities, and areas, which echo the violent rotation of that monumental storm. Paris’s (2007) bold blue and white péripherique rigidly maintains the city’s borders. While inside, Paris as we know it beams in a captivating latticework of blue, yellow, green, and purple exuding the city’s sense of vitality and charm. China (2006) shows a colossal landmass with cities, provinces, and roads pulsating in reds, blues, greens, and yellows. Listed above are the astounding statistics that make China one of the world’s great centers of capitalism and culture. Manhattan at night (2007) glows in deep jewel tones of purple, blue, green, and black. This enchanting quality is sobered as the median incomes of various neighborhoods disclose the very different realities of city residents. NYC Transit (2007) projects the city in intricate layers of line, text, and color that culminate with the iconic map of the New York City subway system. The major outsourcing destination of India (2007) takes form in a giant pink landmass accented with bright blue and green road markers and orange location names, which give the impression of a sign for its popular Bollywood industry. Israel (2007) presents the country and bordering countries including Egypt, Palestine, Jordon, Syria, and Iran. Text representing cities and regions is written in varying, haphazard directions communicating a visual sense of conflict and discord. Middle East (2007) segregates the area by rendering each country in its own bold color. The land’s sordid past is remembered through hatch marks and dots representing the Babylonian Empire, Moslem Empire, Ottoman Empire, and Roman Empire.

Ms. Scher began her career creating album covers for CBS Recordings in the 1970ís. She moved on to art direction for magazines at Time Inc., and in the 1980ís formed her own boutique firm, Koppel & Scher. She has been a principal at the New York-based Pentagram design consultancy since 1991, where she has created visual identities for Citibank, The New York Public Theater, and the American Museum of Natural History, among others.

Further reading:

Andy Woodruff over at the Cartogrammar blog has a post that lists other tag cloud like maps with images.