I planned to highlight ten maps each in month in this *Monthly Maps* series. The month of July, however, saw quite a few fabulous maps, and left me struggling to choose between them. Perhaps I will break the limit of ten maps a bit for this month.

July began with the awesome urban tweet topography maps by data visualisation scientist Nicolas Belmonte. These maps takes all the geo-tagged tweets from five cities — Buenos Aires, Istanbul, Moscow, New York, and San Francisco — and generate a three dimensional topography of these tweets with a higher contour line indicating a greater number of tweets from the place concerned. The image below is for Istanbul. Do visit the maps page to explore other cities and various thematic terrain shading, and the entire code is on GitHub too!

3d twitter topography

And Stamen came out with the *instgram for maps* – map stack. It lets you create a map by combining various basemap layers (including satellite imagery, terrain, road networks etc.), visually crafting the layers using detailed controls (e.g., masks, opacity and brightness), and to convert the final map into an image for sharing.

stamen - map stack

We move from digital geo-visualisations to the analog hand-drawn cartographic beauty of Stephen Walter’s *Anthroposcene* exhibition. Walter describes the exhibition as “a critique and a celebration of place, and the stories, histories and perceptions that inhabit them: I act as an editor or a filter through which the information is laid down”.

stephen walter - anthroposcene

And here come more fabulous maps of London built as a paper sculpture by Matthew Picton. His work is intricate and beautiful. The cartographic sculptures are created using hand-cut paper, featuring texts and images related to the city concerned. For example, the first map below uses burned illustrations of 17th century London to tell the story of the ‘great fire’, while the second map presents the ‘cholera’ story by incorporating John Snow’s cholera death and public water pump location metrics onto the surface of the sculpture.

matthew picton - london 1666

matthew picton - london cholera map

Celebrating 70 years of Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion Map, the Buckminster Fuller Institute invited cartographers, designers and artists “to create a new and inspiring interpretation of the Dymaxion Map”. The winning maps have just been announced and they are all fantastic. Below is a map of clouds in Dymaxion projection by Anne-Gaelle Amiot.

bfi dymaxion map contest

The recently inaugurated MapLab blog at Wired has interviewed Darin Jensen, cartographer of strange and fascinating POI combinations. For example, the following map juxtaposes criminal gang territories and location of cupcake shops, and tends to suggest that majority of the cupcake shops are located in a particular gang’s territory. See the interview for more of Jensen’s works.

darin jensen - gangs and cupcakes

The MapLab blog also unearthed a treasure chest filled with maps visualising films as travel routes of its protagonists. Beautifully illustrated by Andrew DeGraff, the maps resemble vintage treasure maps and are great for a little game of identify-this-film. Let’s see if you can name the film mapped out below. Answer is at the bottom of the page.

movie maps

In celebration of the Battle of Gettysburg, Smithsonian.com created a detailed interactive map of the battle, combining a 1874 terrain map of the area with contemporary digital data. It tells a compelling story of the importance of topgraphy in determining the informational (sight) advantages of the armies the in pre-satellite-imagery era.

smithsonian - battle of gettysburg

Anticipating the national election season in India, IndiaVotes has launched a map of past election resuls. The map shows details about Parliamentary and Assembly Constituency elections in India, since 2004. [edit] Aplogies to the map creators for wrongly mentioning that same colours have been used to show election wins of the two major national parties — Indian National Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party. The colours are actually different but appear to be the same under high brightness condition. This is a great opportunity to point out the importance of colour selection in map-making, and also to mention ColorBrewer, a very useful cartographic colour selection tool created by Cynthia Brewer and Axis Maps. [/edit]

indiavotes - election map

Stamen released the second version of Field Papers, a wonderful geo-data gathering tool. The release note mentions that most of the development has gone in bettering its performance, including queue management and dealing with stalled prints, and it now supports private atlases (submitted scanned maps). Also, check out the code on GitHub.

stamen - fieldpapers

We heard highly promising news about a map of Calcutta idiosyncrasies, and are hoping to meet these neogeographers soon:

But this map does so much more. Nesting locations of migratory birds, directions to used book shops, street food zones, and markets; a plate of three yellow ladoos marks Sweet/Confectionery stops in the city. Etched mid-way through the chart are two not-so-posh watering holes — Chota Bristol and Saqi Bar — once frequented by rowdy sailors. “You know, this is a city where the East and the West collided. I want people to experience the sparks of this collision. Take, for instance, Charles Stuart, an Englishman who loved Hinduism so much that his cemetery in Kolkata is built like a temple,” he says, tracing a finger along the tombstone symbols on the map. Of course, there is a list of quirky things to do in Kolkata too. ‘Chess with the local grandmasters under the flyover’ and ‘Play football in the mornings with local boys at the Maidan and find out if their favourite team is East Bengal or Mohun Bagan’.

Exactly the kind of detail this map is best at — fragments of social history in the fabric of the buildings, usually above the eye line or tucked down an alleyway, those you would never notice unless someone told you where to look.

Let us sign off with a recent presentation on the under-construction (Indian) national GIS infrastructure project by Sam Pitroda, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations. The lecture does not go into much detail about the project, but gives an effective overview of the proposed GIS-driven internet-of-government-things (tagging and geo-monitoring of all physical assets of Government of India). Start listening around the fifteen minute mark to directly enter the national GIS discussion.


Thanks to David Stairs, @MapLondon, Mark Byrnes and @MediaNama for sharing links to the Dymaxion map contest, Stephen Walter’s exhibition, Matthew Picton’s paper sculptures, and IndiaVotes election map, respectively.

And the mapped out movie is *Star Wars IV: A New Hope*.

2 thoughts on “Monthly Maps: July 2013

  1. Pingback: GeoHackers – Monthly Maps

  2. Pingback: GeoHackers – Monthly Maps | ajantriks

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