Posts Tagged ‘travel’

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 . . .

Maps of Henri Cartier Bresson’s Travels by Adrian Kitzinger @ MoMa

Monday, April 26th, 2010

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[Editor’s note: Henri Cartier-Bresson (1908–2004) helped to define photographic modernism starting in the 1930s when he began working for Life and other news “picture” magazines (exhibit at MoMa in New York thru June 28, 2010). He snatched beguiling images from fleeting moments of everyday life. He traveled the whole world over, as this series of maps from Adrian Kitzinger shows. Because he visited some cities more than once, the cartographer employs a clever technique of showing overall trips with colored route lines and visited cities in normal black type. If subsequent visits were made, the city name is underlined in the route color of the 2ndary, tertiary, etc trip. Some indication is also made for the mode of transport. Photo below is from after WWII as a women denounces another for ratting on her to the Nazi secret police during the war.]

Republished from the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

These maps, by Adrian Kitzinger, have been adapted from the maps he made for the detailed chronology of Cartier-Bresson’s travels in the book that accompanies the exhibition. The principal itineraries are named by year and distinguished by color, and are keyed to a descriptive list on each map. Please note that some quite similar colors designate entirely distinct itineraries.

Cartier-Bresson’s travel is rendered as lines (solid by land or sea, dashes by air) following the most probable routes; when a route cannot be reasonably surmised or clearly shown, locales that belong to a single trip share a color code: underscores or colored type. Some more far-flung connections are indicated with dotted arrows. Places Cartier-Bresson visited independently of a recorded itinerary are represented as circles with gray rather than white centers.

View more maps at MoMa . . .

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Galapagos island relies on travelers to deliver the mail (Wash Post)

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

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[Editor's note: I've received a postcard thru the Galapagos "postal system", it works!]

Republished from The Washington Post.
By Andrea Sachs. January 31, 2010

Floreana Island’s postal service hasn’t evolved from its origins hundreds of years ago. But unlike Darwin’s finches, it doesn’t need to adapt to survive.

Instead of stamps and postmen, the Galapagos isle relies on a barrel and the kindness of travelers to move its mail. Twice a day including Sunday, boatloads of unofficial mail carriers land in Post Office Bay and walk a few sandy yards to a wooden barrel crammed with postcards and notes left by past visitors. The guests, mainly cruisers eco-touring the Ecuadorian islands, sort through the stacks, looking for addresses within delivery distance of their homes. They also drop their own messages into the receptacle, adding another link to the chain of mail.

“Sometimes it’s faster than the regular mail,” said our guide, Carlos, as he yanked dozens of letters from a plastic bag. “You come one day and drop it off two days later.”

Continue reading at The Washington Post . . .

Travel to Bermuda Ad (Wash Post)

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

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[Editor's note: This fanciful bit of advertising art pleases my (left or right?) eye. The Bermuda ad campaign is customized for several metropolitan areas.]

Republished from The Washington Post (an ad in the print edition on 2 August 2009).

Key to Eliminating U.S. Flight Delays? Redesign the Sky Over New York City (Wired)

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009
[Editor's note: Maps show off the poor network topology for air traffic in and out of New York city and how to optimize the system to reduce flight delays across the US.]
Republished from Wired magazine.
By Andrew Blum Email 02.23.09

Two million flights pass through the New York area airspace each year.
Illustration: Aaron Koblin

Inbound JFK. The turns start while you’re still in the clouds. Engines howling, flaps down, the plane lurches and dives, jerky as a taxi in Midtown. Seatback upright and tray table locked, you’re oblivious to the crowded flight paths around you. But the air above New York City is mapped: a dense and nuanced geography nearly as complicated as the city below.

More than 2 million flights pass over the city every year, most traveling to and from the metropolitan area’s three busiest airports: John F. Kennedy, Newark, and LaGuardia. And all that traffic squeezes through a network of aerial routes first laid out for the mail planes of the 1920s. Aircraft are tracked by antiquated, ground-based radar and guided by verbal instructions issued over simplex radios, technology that predates the pocket calculator. The system is extremely safe—no commercial flight has been in a midair collision over the US in 22 years—but, because the Federal Aviation Administration treats each plane as if it were a 2,000-foot-tall, 6- by 6-mile block lumbering through the troposphere, New York is running out of air.

This is a nightmare for New York travelers; delays affect about a third of the area’s flights. The problem also ripples out to create a bigger logjam: Because so many aircraft pass through New York’s airspace, three-quarters of all holdups nationwide can be traced back to that tangled swath of East Coast sky.

Six years ago, Congress green-lit a plan to solve this problem. The Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act calls for a new system, dubbed NextGen, that uses GPS to create a sort of real-time social network in the skies. In theory, it should give pilots the data they need to route themselves—minus the huge safety cushions.

But NextGen needs some serious hardware: roughly $300,000 in new avionics equipment for every cockpit. That’s a lot of peanuts for the struggling airlines. Add to the tab nearly 800 new federally funded ground stations to relay each plane’s location and trajectory to every other plane in the sky and—by the time NextGen finally launches in 2025—the price tag could reach $42 billion.

Jetliner Photos: Jeffrey Milstein

In the meantime, the New York-area skies have seen a huge traffic bump over the past two decades—including a 48 percent increase between 1994 and 2004. So the FAA has set out to coax new efficiency from old technology.

To help reorganize this airspace, the FAA called on Mitre, a Beltway R&D firm that works exclusively for the government. Mitre’s scientists and mathematicians, in cooperation with some of the region’s air traffic controllers, are completely rethinking the flow of aircraft in and out of New York City. Current flight patterns evolved like a rabbit warren, with additions tacked on to an existing architecture. As airports grew busier and airplanes started flying higher and faster, that architecture became increasingly inefficient. The plan, the unfortunately named New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia Metropolitan Area Airspace Redesign, aims to bring order to the air.

Think of it as a redrawn map of the roadways in the sky. While planes used to chug in and out of the city on a few packed roads, the redesign spreads out the aircraft by adding new arrival posts (exit ramps), departure gates (on-ramps), and takeoff headings (streets leading up to the intercity highways). But the biggest move will be making the space for all these additions. Mitre’s proposal is to extend the boundaries of this airborne city into a 31,180-square-mile area that stretches from Philadelphia to Albany to Montauk.

Unclogging the Skies

A new FAA plan—the New York/New Jersey/Philadelphia Metropolitan Area Airspace Redesign—aims to streamline the air traffic over New York. Here are two highlights.

Adding Lanes
Flights heading west out of New York have to squeeze onto two airborne highways over New Jersey before they merge with air traffic from the rest of the country. The redesign adds more lanes, allowing more planes to take off per hour.

Expanding Control
The New York regional air traffic control center is the busiest in the world. The redesign integrates its authority with other regional centers so controllers can direct planes that are farther away, clearing the high-altitude flight paths for through-traffic

The FAA started implementing the first part of the plan—the new takeoff headings—in December 2007 and should have the full strategy in place by 2012. By then the agencies hope to have reduced delays in New York by an average of three minutes per flight. And in a system as interconnected as the US air traffic network, those few minutes could quickly cascade into hours.

Continue reading at Wired . . .

Taking the Train: The Most Used Subway Systems in the US and Around the World (Good Magazine)

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

[Editor’s note: This chart needs a per capita analysis and comparable accounting of subway milages but is super fun any how. Click image above for larger view, or follow link below. Happy birthday Katie Rose!]

Republished from Good magazine.
Orig pub date: Feb. 17, 2009.

Even though subways are a fuel-efficent way to move people around congested urban areas, Americans make poor use of them, probably because they are poorly funded and often don’t travel where we want to go. Right now, of the five most-used subway systems in the country, only New York City’s attracts as many riders as the five largest foreign subway systems.

A collaboration between GOOD and Robert A. Di Ieso, Jr.

View the original graphic | blog post.

China Pictures 1st (Kelso)

Thursday, November 6th, 2008

I vacationed in China for 12 days at the end of October 2008 and returned just in time to participate in Obama’s smashing victory over McCain in the US presidential contest.

Here is a quick selection of my photos from Shanghai, West Lake / Huang Zhou, Jing de Zhen, Huang Shan / Yellow Mountains, and Beijing / Great Wall. I’ll be posting more later with some trip discussion and photo captions.

To see the photos blown up, click on the photo thumbnail below, and then click on the next page’s thumbnail to see the larger resolution image. Sorry, WordPress is lame about this.

Map that named America on Display in DC

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

waldseemuller mapFrom Reuters: The only surviving copy of the 500-year-old map that first used the name America goes on permanent display this month at the Library of Congress (LOC), but even as it prepares for its debut, the 1507 Waldseemuller map remains a puzzle for researchers. More of that article. Info from LOC on the map and how to visit here.

I’ll be sure to make the pilgrimage after I return to DC in January. Thanks Caryn :)

Great interactive Caribbean travel map

Sunday, November 4th, 2007

I’m very impressed with this NY Times map that ran last weekend:
http://travel.nytimes.com/2007/10/28/travel/28curacao.html
(follow the “click to explore venues” link in their left sidebar)

Caribbean Map – New York Times

On the surface, this map is a Flash-based interactive graphic that makes use of Google maps thru a “mashup” (inside of Flash) enabling the cartographer to use Google for the detailed street and satellite maps to plot features (like travel points of interest) onto. This information is often more detailed than the databases we have and can quickly be deployed. The downside is the “look” is Google and after awhile, every mashup seems to look alike.

But this NY Times example uses custom map icons and mouseOver effects to good use to distinguish itself. And you can’t even tell it’s a mashup at first view. It starts with a regional Caribbean map (custom NY Times cartography) and then zooms into the specific country before fading to the Google mashup.

This map is also well integrated into it’s host page. In-line with each point of interest description in the HTML is a link back to the map. When the user clicks on the “MAP” link, the photo on the top of the page changes to the interactive map, zooms in, and displays that feature, even if the map wasn’t displayed at first.

Excellent interactive!