Category Archives: maps

Curious, Persuasive Maps

Photo Credit: Persuasive Maps: PJ Mode Collection

JP Mode has donated a collection of maps that explore the capacity of persuasion to Cornell University Library’s Rare Manuscript Collections. The maps are accessible from Cornell via Persuasive Cartography: The PJ Model Collection. The collection is also freely accessible in Artstor’s Shared Shelf Commons. The maps comprising this collection—many are from significant political eras like World War II—are unique because they all contain examples of visual persuasion or propaganda.

Source: Artstor

The 200-Acre Model

In 1927 the Mississippi River flooded the Midwest causing mass devastation. The number of people who died in the tragic event is unknown; Herbert Hoover called it “the most dangerous flood our country has ever known.” Congress passed the Flood Control Act of 1928, and the Army Corps build a sophisticated model to test flood prevention strategies. The model was a three-dimensional map of the United States at 1/2000 scale. The model was used to successfully predict which levees were overtopped in floods in later years. Although computer models have replaced this massive model, physical models are still useful for running advanced simulations that computers cannot adequately process.

Source: 99 Percent Invisible

Engaging Experiment by Google Chrome

Image Credit: Chrome Experiments

Google Chrome has devised a new way to get to know our planet. Through doodling a curve onto its interface, Land Lines reveals a corresponding landform, along with its physical location. This is an application that allows users to happen upon parts of the world to which they would otherwise be oblivious.

Source: Visual News

“The Great American Word Mapper”

Image Source: Visual News

Image Source: Visual News

Visual News reports about “the Great American Word Mapper,” a device that allows you to input a word and the output will inform you of its popularity based on location. The data driving the site was compiled in 2014 from billions of Twitter posts and the top 100,000 words used in those tweets generate the maps. It reminds us that vocabulary, regardless of the prevalence of social media today, remains tied to geography.

Source: Visual News

Online Quiz Turns the World Upside Down

Image credit: Pentagram

Image credit: Pentagram

Would you recognize your home country upside-down? The London office of design consultancy Pentagram created an interactive quiz that allows users to prove their geographic savvy. The quiz is based on the notion that cardinal directions are man-made concepts that change our perception of geography. Users are asked questions about cities and countries with map images that are presented upside-down or sideways. Try out your geographical skills here.

Source: Visual News

Television Popularity Maps Highlight America’s Cultural Divides

Duck Dynasty popularity Image credit: The New York Times

Duck Dynasty popularity
Image credit: The New York Times

The New York Times has published a series of maps that measure the popularity of different television shows across the United States. The maps, which analyze shows like Duck Dynasty, Modern Family, and Criminal Minds, reveal the differences, for example, between rural and urban viewers.

Source: The New York Times

Layers of New York’s History Unveiled with the OldNYC App

Image Credit: CityLab

Image Credit: CityLab/OldNYC

OldNYC is a new app that allows tourists and locals to explore New York City through the eyes of those who came before them. Creators Orian Breaux and Christina Leuci geotag photographs obtained from the New York Public Library’s Picture Collection allowing users to access historic images as they are walking through the city. OldNYC enables the past to intersect with the present, revealing to the user the layers of history embedded in the cityscape. The app is free on iTunes here.

Source: CityLab

Promoting a Healthy Building Culture

Screen Shot 2016-05-10 at 1.40.15 PM

Economic Innovation Group (EIG) is a Washington, D.C. based collaborative institution working to advance solutions that empower entrepreneurs and investors in forging a more dynamic and entrepreneurial economy throughout the United States. The group recently released their findings on issues of blight in U.S. cities outlined in the Distressed Communities Index. Using a seven metric system the group created a customized data set that gives a ranking to more than 25,000 zipcodes. The seven metrics the group utilized ranged from percent of unoccupied housing that is habitable, median home income, and change in number of businesses in a three-year period. The group created interactive maps, infographics, and a findings report using the compiled data.

“It is intended to facilitate a better understanding of the pervasive pessimism many Americans feel about their own communities and personal economic prospects in spite of years of steady U.S. economic expansion. Looking forward, it aims to identify the communities most at risk of being left behind by the country’s continued growth and development in the years to come.”

Source: Cleveland Scene Magazine

Trending: Map Coloring Books

Moscow’s Luzhniki Olympic Complex | Gretchen Peterson

Moscow’s Luzhniki Olympic Complex | Gretchen Peterson

A trend that is gaining momentum, adult coloring books are being created by artists, designers, and architects. Now, Gretchen Peterson—a GIS mapmaker paving the way for female cartographers—is helping to bring the art of map design to a larger audience with her graphically intricate project City Maps: A coloring book for adults. The book’s 40+ illustrations depict aerial line drawings of cities the world over satisfying adults’ impulse to color.

Source: City Lab

Visualizing the Racial Divide

Jim Vallandingham uses his background in software development and data visualization to create maps of the most segregated cities in the United States. His project, titled Visualizing the Racial Divide, illustrates the fracturing of cities along these deeply entrenched racial boundaries. Through animation, Census tract data is unpacked in a very visceral way—cities appear to shatter apart with increasing force at points of the most drastic racial divisions. Below is a still from Vallandingham’s Chicago map animation.

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 1.22.06 PM



Minimal Maps

minimal maps_1

Evergreen Forests of America—Michael Pecirno

Minimal Maps is an ongoing project of London-based designer Michael Pecirno. Using USDA data, Pecirno isolates a single land use or geographic form to create unique maps, beautifully illustrating the United States beyond the typically limited urban and political contexts. Explore Pecirno’s other spatial and visual work on his website.

source: CITYLAB

Digitizing Historic Maps: Cuba


Over 100 historic maps of Cuba have been digitized by The University of Miami Libraries and are now available through their Digital Collections site. Projects such as this one are extremely beneficial in not only helping to keep libraries and their collections relevant and accessible in the digital age but also contribute to the preservation of the physical objects by limiting handling of fragile and friable material. View the collection of Cuban maps here.

Source: Cuban Heritage Collection