Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Foreign forces in Afghanistan

Here's a map from the BBC that would be far more useful if it didn't divide foreign troops into only two groups -- US and NATO -- which means for instance that we can't see where Canadians are or were (they've been reassigned). Even so, it is good to have.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Fragmentary: the Palestinian Territories of the "West Bank," imagined as an archipelago

From Strange Maps, which quotes the creator, Julien Bousac:

The map is not about ‘drowning’ or ‘flooding’ the Israeli population, nor dividing territories along ethnic lines, even less a suggestion of how to resolve the conflict.

And SM says further:

Mr Boussac took advantage of the resulting archipelago effect “to use typical tourist maps codes (mainly icons) to sharpen the contrast between the fantasies raised by seemingly paradise-like islands and the Palestinian Territories grim reality.” The map does have a strong vacationy vibe to it – but whether that is because of the archipelago-shaped subject matter, or due to the cheerful colour scheme is a matter for debate.

Those colours, incidentally, denote urban areas (orange), nature reserves (shaded), zones of partial autonomy (dark green) and of total autonomy (light green). Totally fanciful are of course the dotted lines symbolising shipping links, the palm trees signifying protected beachland, and the purple symbols representing various aspects of seaside pleasure. The blue icon, labelled Zone sous surveillance (‘Zone under surveillance’) has some bearing on reality, as the locations of the warships match those of permanent Israeli checkpoints.

Some of the paradisiacally named islands include Ile au Miel (Honey Island), Ile aux Oliviers (Isle of the Olive Trees), Ile Sainte (Holy Island) and Ile aux Moutons (Sheep Island), although the naming of Ile sous le Mur (Island beneath the Wall) constitutes a relapse into the grimness of the area’s reality.

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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Atlas of True Names (or something close)

Many place names are made up of archaic words whose meaning is not obvious. What if, suddenly, the meanings of those words were suddenly revealed and all place names were simple phrases in your language -- like, say, North Bay? Well, the map -- not to mention the insides of our heads -- might look a little different, as in the Atlas of True Names, or the excerpted map above (click to see it up close).

Thanks to Strange Maps and its alert readers for the tip. See Strange Maps for commentary and further links.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

East is west, and West is east

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A useful basemap of the USA: the Electoral College

While the Greatest Show on Earth roars to its astonishing conclusion -- whatever it may be -- polls and predictions proliferate. Most graphic presentations, however, are bedeviled by basemaps that depict area rather than political clout. But the Princeton Election Consortium has avoided that trap -- voila!

Now you can go there every day and shout at the screen that they are wrong, wrong, wrong. But at least they will have a sensible basemap.

Thanks to Brad DeLong for alerting me.

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Strange Maps: The geography of blondness

Strange Maps also provided us webcrawlers recently with a link to a site, Eupedia, which includes a series of maps meant to orient the reader to some interesting features of European society. They are not all of the same quality. The map of "traditional religious majorities by region in Europe" really offends my sense of reality (see Kaliningrad). But it's still good fun.

The map above, called "The Percentage of Light Hair in Europe" is particularly neat, though I have no idea whether it has any validity. My vast background in human genetics (I have human genes, and they go back a long way!) allows me to say that this map suggests a shocking fact: a freak mutation that occurred on the shores of the Gulf of Bothnia has produced a weird looking bunch of people who have managed to convince much of the rest of humanity to bleach their hair to "fit in."

Madonna may be the current leader of this propaganda effort.

Full disclosure: In some countries I would be called blond, and my hair is lighter than most.

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Strange Maps: The ancient geography of Germany

I've mentioned the unique and delightful blog Strange Maps here before; it continues to be excellent. A few days ago it ran this 19th-century reconstruction of the 1st century map of Germania (roughly modern Germany) created by the 1st century Graeco-Egyptian geographer and astronomer. Ptolemy is one of the most important scientists who ever lived. A great many of his analyses and ideas were wrong -- look up "epicycles" -- but he was a careful scholar and people were able to build better because of the foundations he laid down.

Think of this post as an homage to all who make useful mistakes.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Strange Maps

Andrew Sullivan's blog at the Atlantic alerts me to the existence of a blog called Strange Maps. Wow! It's already on my list of blogs to track.

The map above is what caught Sullivan's attention. It labels US states with the name of the country closest to it in Gross Domestic Product. Note that New Jersey is labeled as "Russia." This not only tells you that Russia is poorer than you think, but that New Jersey is richer.

Note that Saudi Arabia for all its supposedly fabulous wealth is only as rich as Tennessee.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Walmart's world -- where their products come from

This relates to the last lecture in World History two weeks back. A better view at the originating site (or try clicking on the image above). I wonder what else might be there?